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What is the connection between irritable bowel syndrome, stress, and anxiety?

ANSWER

There are several theories about the connection between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stress, and anxiety:

  • Although psychological problems like anxiety don’t cause the digestive disorder, people with IBS may be more sensitive to emotional troubles.
  • Stress and anxiety may make the mind more aware of spasms in the colon.
  • IBS may be triggered by the immune system, which is affected by stress.

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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How can you prevent stress to prevent irritable bowel syndrome?

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