Did you know how stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms?


Many of us know what Irritable Bowel Syndrome is, but I had no idea that IBS can be influenced in such a way by stress and anxiety. Edward Blanchard, PhD, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany said that “about 60% of IBS patients will meet the criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders”.

We all have problems. Different things cause stress for different people. Stress can include:

  • Financial problems
  • Problems at work
  • A sense that things are beyond your control
  • Commutes
  • Problems at home

What you can do to prevent stress is:

  • Try behavioral therapy. Learn how to calm yourself down with the help of techniques such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.
  • Practice healthy living. Eat a well-balanced diet that is appropriate for your IBS. Get regular exercise and enough sleep. Don’t forget about the 8 hours of sleeping.
  • Do something fun. Listen to music, read, shop, or take a walk, depending on what do you like more.
  • Talk to people. If you feel comfortable doing so, tell your family members, close friends, boss, and co-workers about your IBS. They may provide vital support. Plus, the conversation may prevent any misunderstandings when your symptoms flare up and you are not able to meet expectations.
  • Plan ahead. Ease worries about your symptoms flaring up when going out. Get up earlier if you know IBS makes you late for work. If you are driving, map your route so that you know locations of bathrooms. At social events, choose aisle seats close to the facilities. Know what’s on the menu so you can eat beforehand if the food will not be agreeable to you.

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