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Emotional Effects Of IBS — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 8, 2009 at 3:17 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Emotional Effects Of IBS


IBS is a difficult condition to live with. People with IBS often limit their activity and social schedules due to their random onset of painful and often embarrassing symptoms. Furthermore, most people without IBS don't understand or appreciate the severity of IBS symptoms and how much they may interfere in a person's life. Outsiders may doubt the validity of complaints, and suggest the symptoms are "all in your head." For those already dealing with the physical pain and discomfort of IBS, the added strain from friends and family's skepticism can be overwhelming.

Emotional Disorders and IBS

Someone with IBS is likely to experience an emotional disorder. Since there is often a link between IBS and stress and anxiety, the two problems may be triggering each other in an endless cycle; which came first? Does stress bring on IBS or does IBS bring on stress? Probably both statements are true. IBS makes you stressed which triggers symptoms that stress you out, which triggers even more symptoms. The cycle has to be stopped.

Coping With IBS

Since there is no cure for IBS, those who have it often feel helpless and out of control. There is no pill or easy cure for IBS itself, and not much that will provide relief of symptoms. Those with IBS must find ways to reduce and prevent symptoms as much as possible.

Tips to Cope With IBS

While there is no one way to prevent IBS symptoms, there are steps that can be taken to prevent an onset and to cope with IBS.

Identify Triggers

This is perhaps the most important aspect of managing IBS. Keep a journal identifying your symptoms, the time they began and stopped, what you ate, what you were doing and anything else that may have triggered your IBS. After a week or two you may notice patterns that become specific IBS triggers. Once you identify triggers you can work to avoid or eliminate them.

A Balanced Diet

While a rounded diet is important for everyone, for those with IBS an appropriate diet may relive painful symptoms and perhaps alleviate them. A diet rich in fiber may ease painful digestion. Plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains are rich in fiber and other great nutrients.


Exercise is great for everyone. For those prone to IBS and emotional disorders, exercise is even more important. Since it produces endorphins, which make us feel good, exercise can help alleviate depression. It will also help those with IBS stay active and motivated.

Therapy and Support Groups

Many people with IBS find relief and support in IBS support groups. Even if you're resistant to the idea of therapy or group therapy, you may find relief surrounded by people who know exactly what you're going through. One on one therapy is beneficial if you're feeling depressed or anxious; the therapist can help you work through your feelings and provides an outside perspective on your thoughts and actions.


Be sure you have an open and honest relationship with your doctor. While it may be embarrassing to have IBS, your doctor can't do their job unless you tell them everything.

Be Open and Honest

Be sure to tell friends, family or any co-workers you trust about your condition. Have someone to talk for additional support. The more they understand about what you are going through, the smoother your life will be.


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