Codeine and IBS

As a lifelong IBS sufferer, there have been times where I would have done, or taken pretty much anything to overcome my IBS.  It was so dominant for so long.  I spent thousands trying every conceivable product, that so often promised the world and delivered nothing.

The first time I was prescribed Codeine, it did nothing.  At the time I was taking Oxytetracycline for a skin condition, and had been doing so for years.  At this point in my life my stomach was less than useless.  My digestive system was no more than a magic ride for my dinner to pass through before swiftly exiting.  The net result was that I felt dreadful, and had no faith in Codeine.


In the ensuing years I has met with a nurse who had been shocked to find I was still on Oxytetracycline which is an antibiotic, and she has instituted a list of changes for me to make.

There were some bad times, and nothing happened instantly, however I felt so much better and was back to my old self, having really battled with depression when IBS was at its peak.

Although better, I was still having flare up and it was then that I revisited the use of Codeine.  With my digestive system better than before, this time Codeine was a revelation.  This is a key point, Codeine will not work if you are not taking steps yourself to improve your IBS.   It works exceptionally well if you digestion is being cared for.

Codeine was the missing link, all of a sudden I had a way of living my life as and when I wanted.  At the time there was little mention of its addictive nature, however I doubt it would have bothered me, I’d found my freedom, I could do what I wanted when I wanted, that was all new.


Under the influence of Codeine, I set about doing all the things I’d missed.  Mentally I still had issues, a whole life of not being able to leave the house without numerous comfort stops, does not disappear overnight.  What I was unaware of, was the way in which it slowed my mind.  I struggled to think quickly and felt sluggish.

This may not happen for all, but many Codeine users will understand this hazy feeling, and to say the least it is not conducive to quick thinking.  As time wore on and the dose increased, as with any drug its effectiveness may decrease over time, my work suffered as a result of my hazy thinking. I also found that my libido was extinguished, which played a major role in the break up of what had been a very loving relationship.

When I became aware of these issues, and tried to give Codeine up, after some time of daily use, I discovered the withdrawl symptoms to be quite horrendous.  At one point I was curled up in a foetal position, with my head throbbing and a feeling of nausea akin to that of the worst sea sickness.  All I can testify, is that quitting Codeine after long term use is one of the nastiest experiences you will ever suffer.

Life after Codeine

Having grown so used to the comfort of Codeine, and the opportunities it presented, life after Codeine was tricky.  By now I’d found a number of methods to cope with my IBS, and I felt so much better, and lively.  My IBS was more of an issue than it had been, but mentally I was much stronger than before, and I was able to enjoy life again.

The change in personality that many sufferers can endure, is very subtle and to be honest I could not put a finger on the change that Codeine had on my personality, however it did change many patterns of my behaviour, and it did have a negative effect on my behaviour.  I also know I felt better when I stopped taking it.

Please note the educational material presented is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Consult with your doctor prior to starting any supplement regimen or making any changes to your prescribed medications.

Codeine - Please Read


I am now at a point where I take Codeine occasionally, if I am going to an event such as a concert, or a family event where I do not want my IBS to be a factor.  It allows me to enjoy those things.  On a day to day basis I steer clear of Codeine, it only takes three days to become addicted.

If you have spent a life of IBS misery, and you are then presented with a remedy such as Codeine the temptation to over use it is overwhelming.  However we urge anyone thinking about Codeine to limit their use to the time where it is necessary.  Used in this way it is a wonderful tool in the fight against certain types of IBS  (It has a constipating effect, and would be dreadful for constipation sufferers).  However if you lose control, it can spiral into a horrible addiction from which the only way out, will test you to the very core.

Healthy, natural methods of fighting IBS can yield wonderful results, as can real attention to your diet.  We hope that you consider Codeine a last resort, and urge anyone thinking about taking Codeine to speak to their Medical Practitioner at length and to be very clear about the down side of its use.