pulseIBS and anxiety

Can anxiety cause IBS?

Have you ever suffered from digestive issues ? You know, those that lead to constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or even worse, weight loss, anemia, persistent abdominal pain, or anal bleeding, just to name a few. This condition leaves you with a strong discomfort that affects your daily life. Business meetings, family reunions, romantic evenings, or even just relaxing are impacted. 

One of the problems with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is the nature of the difficulties it implies. 

It is not the kind of issue you can talk about with anyone easily.

When searching for an answer concerning the reasons why anyone would suffer from IBS, anxiety comes as one of the main reasons. And this is quite understandable as studies have shown that people who have anxiety and stress issues tend to also show symptoms linked to an upset stomach and bowel irritability.

If it seems there is some kind of correlation between the two, how exactly does it work ? Basically, the question that most patients ask is : which came in the first place ? Did anxiety start the IBS, or is it because of IBS that we tend to be more anxious ?

How to recognize IBS ?

You may have suffered from IBS for a long time without even knowing it. After experiencing months and years of discomfort and pain, you were finally able to spot what was wrong.

Symptoms of the conditions are pretty large, but some of them are very common among IBS patients.

Most of them include abdominal pain, bloating or cramping, more than usual gas, presence of mucus in feces and constipation or diarrhea, and even alternation of the two.

However, in some serious cases, other more alarming signs can appear such as rectal bleeding, weight loss, vomiting, and chronic pain that bowel movement doesn’t relieve.

A visit to the doctor is then mandatory to get a full and detailed diagnosIs.

Is IBS the result of anxiety ?

And here comes the question ! Is the feeling of anxiety causing Irritable Bowel Syndrome ? It can be hard to determine which came first : anxiety or IBS ? Spontaneously most people see a natural link between the two that influences one another. The connection seems obvious. When people are under pressure and stressed, they tend to develop stomach and intestinal difficulties.

Studies tend to show a correlation between anxiety and IBS : 40 % to 60 % of IBS patients have shown signs of psychiatric disorders, mostly they suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and, to a lesser extent, depression. It is important not to misunderstand different concepts. IBS and anxiety are often associated but it doesn’t imply that one is the factor creating the other.

If anxiety is not the reason for IBS, it can, at the very least, worsen the situation. The exact causes of IBS are not exactly known but a combination of different elements seems to lead to this condition. For example, muscle contractions, inflammations in the intestines, alteration in the microflora, etc.

Anxiety will aggravate those factors, by causing the immune system to inflame, increasing the intestinal permeability and reducing the blood flow to your intestines. Still, it doesn’t appear to be the primary cause of IBS.


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