IBS and Stress

Scientific research shows there is a clear link between IBS and stress. Commonly, people who have IBS also suffer from some form of anxiety.

Although we still don’t understand how the two are connected, scientific research shows a clear link between IBS and stress.

We know that the colon is controlled by the nervous system and the immune system, both of which are very responsive to anxiety. It’s been suggested that IBS sufferers have a colon that’s more sensitive than normal, meaning that it can overreact to certain foods and psychological triggers.

Most commonly, these psychological triggers include generalised anxiety disorder, stress or depression. IBS and anxiety are the most common issues found to coexist..

Dealing with the symptoms of IBS may make you more sensitive to emotional troubles, but stress can also affect the bowels, making them more sensitive and less tolerant of food. In this way, episodes of stress, depression and anxiety may act as IBS triggers.

Some sufferers have such a strong brain-gut connection that they feel the need for the toilet whenever they’re unsettled or upset. This threat of incontinence can create a vicious circle that only serves to increase anxiety.

Many people who experience IBS and stress, anxiety or depression in parallel find relaxation techniques can help with the symptoms of both. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a popular way to help people cope with anxiety and depression. This is often recommended as a first choice of treatment for IBS if you’ve experienced anxiety, panic attacks and depression in the past.




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