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How is stress, anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome related?

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It's not totally clear how stress, anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are related -- or which one comes first -- but studies show they can happen together.

When a doctor talks to people with this digestive disorder, "what you find is that about 60% of IBS patients will meet the criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders," says Edward Blanchard, PhD, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany.

The most common mental ailment people with irritable bowel syndrome have is generalized anxiety disorder, Blanchard says. He thinks more than 60% of IBS patients with a psychiatric illness have that type of anxiety. Another 20% have depression, and the rest have other disorders.

SOURCES: 

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, MSEd, MSc, co-author of American College of Gastroenterology's "Evidence-Based Position Statement on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in North America." 

Janine Blackman, MD, PhD, former medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, adjunct professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, founder of RiverSoul Wellness in Bethesda, MD.

Jonathan Gilbert, who has a diplomate in herbology and acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture." 

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." 

WebMD Feature: "Natural Alternatives for IBS." 

University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter. 

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis" and "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

Reviewed by Jaydeep Bhat on February 14, 2019

SOURCES: 

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, MSEd, MSc, co-author of American College of Gastroenterology's "Evidence-Based Position Statement on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in North America." 

Janine Blackman, MD, PhD, former medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, adjunct professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, founder of RiverSoul Wellness in Bethesda, MD.

Jonathan Gilbert, who has a diplomate in herbology and acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture." 

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." 

WebMD Feature: "Natural Alternatives for IBS." 

University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter. 

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis" and "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

Reviewed by Jaydeep Bhat on February 14, 2019

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What do people with anxiety tend to worry about?

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