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March 13, 2008 at 3:45 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Emotions May Affect IBS

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Anxiety, Stress, Anger, Sadness; Negative emotions can make life seem like a roller coaster when paired with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Research has shown a strong link between feelings and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is affected by emotional and physical states. Somewhere between 50-90% of people with IBS have at least one psychiatric condition. (This can include general anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, depression, and panic disorder.)

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a very common disorder of the colon, that feature symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Data has shown a direct link between the brain and the digestion tract. A very high number of people with IBS also experience anxiety disorders.

What is the connection between IBS and feelings?

  • Possible that people with IBS are more sensitive to emotion problems.
  • Possible that dealing with anxiety and stress can make the mind more aware of colon spasms.
  • IBS may be triggered by problems with the immune system, which can be affected by stress.

What are symptoms of anxiety?

  • Trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Aching muscles
  • Upset stomach

What can I do if I have anxious feelings and IBS?

Some treatments for IBS can also help you with your anxiety. Stress relief should play a major part in most people's anxiety relief programs. Stress relief can come in the form of several ways:

  • Yoga or exercise
  • Lifestyle changes such as cutting out alcohol and/or caffeine
  • Caution with medications
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis
  • Counseling

How do I cope with stress and anxious feelings?

Learning to manage stress is one of the best ways to prevent symptoms of IBS, and people are doing that in several different ways. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization are very popular. Exercise can be have help, especially calming ones like yoga or meditation. Enjoying pleasurable activities such as being with friends and family, reading, listening to music has also been proven as a good stress relief. Behavioral therapy such as hypnosis, biofeedback, and traditional psychotherapy also can help. Self help groups can offer support and understanding.

How can I prevent IBS?

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Minimizing stress
  • Regular exercise, yoga, or meditation
  • Relaxation exercises

How can I treat IBS?

Relieving symptoms is the main focus for treating IBS, since there is no known cure for IBS. If you can make lifestyle changes, optimize a healthy diet, and learn to manage stress, then keeping IBS under control is truly possible. Some suggestions could include:

  • Taking antidepressant medications.
  • Taking anti-diarrhea medications.
  • Counseling or self help groups.
  • Cutting out high gas foods.
  • Fiber supplements.
  • Specific IBS Medications.

How is IBS diagnosed?

Other diseases have to be ruled out by exclusion. In 1988 a group of physicians set up The Rome Criteria as a guideline to more accurately diagnose IBS. A complete medical history and exam are usually recommended.

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