How is irritable bowel syndrome linked to anxiety?

How is irritable bowel syndrome linked to anxiety?

By: Hermita
0 0
How is irritable bowel syndrome linked to anxiety?

In one of our previous blog posts, I mentioned how anxiety can affect our brain and body and also said that I would write a separate blog post related to irritable bowel syndrome only.


If you are someone who has experienced prolonged stress and traumatic events in your life, there are high chance that everything will reflect on your gut and stomach.

Although IBS symptoms can vary from person to person, everyone can find these correlations:

Brain-Gut Axis: Many still don't know that the brain and the gut are connected through a bidirectional communication system known as the brain-gut axis. Therefore, it is not hard to conclude that the changes in one system can affect the other. Sensitivity and function are most common within the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, which most of the time causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits - constipation or diarrhea.

Stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline can influence gut motility, increase sensitivity to pain, and alter intestinal permeability.

IBS brings the uncertainty of symptoms that trigger and contribute to psychological distress.

Shared Pathophysiology: Both IBS and anxiety disorders have overlapping neurobiological and immunological mechanisms. There is usually an issue with the lack of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), as well as immune system activation.

Treating anxiety reduces irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. The doctors now know that treating one problem can fix the other - in our situation, this means that when you treat anxiety, IBS symptoms tend to be withdrawn.

Is it linked to grief too?

Science and medicine now know that IBS can be linked to grief too, although the connection is not as big as with anxiety.

Stress Response and Emotional Distress are Linked to IBS

It's no secret that grief itself represents a significant emotional stressor that can affect the body's stress response systems. We already mentioned that stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline are linked to irritable bowel syndrome. It is the same with the grieving process and sadness.

Irritable bowel syndrome becomes worse when you are experiencing negative emotions. We all know that grief brings a range of intense emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. Negative changes in lifestyle and your daily routine can also impact gastrointestinal health.

Some other extra stressors can appear within the grieving process, and those are related to real life that is still going on around us. Usually, people who are grieving have other problems in life, such as financial concerns, family conflicts, or changes in social support networks. All these can trigger or worsen IBS symptoms.

Is it possible to manage both grief and IBS at the same time? Yes, but as you have seen, your physical health is usually tied to your mental health. If you have severe symptoms and if IBS impacts your daily life, it is always recommended to visit a gastroenterologist. Besides that, finding a comprehensive approach that addresses emotional well-being, stress management, lifestyle factors, and appropriate medical care always helps.

Take care and stay well!

You need to log in to add comment!

0 Comment