stress and irritable bowel syndrome Image©Tharakorn - iStockphoto

Irritable bowel syndrome due to stress

Abdominal pain, constipation or flatulence are symptoms of the so-called irritable bowel syndrome. Stress is considered among other things to be a Cause of this fault and can be converted into worsening symptoms lead.

Irritable bowel syndrome: What is that actually?

With an irritable bowel syndrome (short: RDS; also: Irritable Bowel Syndrome/IBS), one also speaks of a dyspepsia. This is usually accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, general malaise and altered bowel movements.

In addition, those affected complain of headaches, joint and back pain. Although IBS is not dangerous, for those affected the disorder is a physical as well as mental strain dar. Especially under stress, the symptoms are more intense and more frequent. Even thoughts of stressful situations are then often triggers for pain and digestive problems.


By uploading the video you accept the YouTube privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Do I have irritable bowel syndrome? Symptoms at a glance

An irritable bowel syndrome manifests itself in different ways. Depending on the nature of the symptoms, doctors differentiate between four different types of disease:

  1. Pain type: Abdominal pain are considered the main symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. Affected persons report for example cramping painthat recur at regular intervals. However, a long lasting stabbing pain can also indicate an irritable bowel. Likewise side stings or Pressure in the lower abdomen to a disturbance of bowel function.
  2. Diarrhea guy: In this form of irritable bowel, sufferers often suffer from Diarrhoea. The stool is soft to liquid, in addition there is a strong urge to defecate, which often occurs suddenly and unsigned.
  3. Constipation type: Constipation is also one of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Signs of constipation are hard, pellet-like or lumpy stools and greatly reduced urge to defecate. The bowel often empties no more than three times a week. In this context, symptoms such as Feeling of fullness and pain during bowel movement Added to this is the feeling of not being able to completely empty the bowel.
  4. Flatulence type: abdominal cramps and a distended stomach occur when an excessive amount of gases is produced during digestion and the intestinal wall is excessively stretched and irritated.

Irritable bowel syndrome is often a hybrid of the above classifications. The symptoms, such as pain and diarrhoea or constipation then occur alternately or almost simultaneously. A further indication of an irritable bowel syndrome is that Exacerbate symptoms of stress and in stressful situations occur more frequently. If, on the other hand, the load is relieved, there is usually an improvement.

In principle, it is important to consult a doctor when these symptoms occur. Doctors strongly advise against self-medication. Those who take laxatives for constipation and medicines for paralysis of bowel activity will notice an improvement in the short term, but in the long term they will cause even more damage to the digestive tract.

Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome

If irritable bowel syndrome is suspected, patients should definitely consult a doctor, especially since the Symptoms varied and there is a risk of confusion with other diseases. Especially in the case of fever, blood in the stool or if no improvement is apparent when relieving the patient, it is urgently necessary to see a doctor.

In principle, before diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome, physicians first rule out intolerances and diseases that are associated with similar symptoms for example..:

  • Lactose intolerance (intolerance of milk and dairy products)
  • Sorbitol - intolerance (discomfort and indisposition when consuming
  • apple juice, pears or plums)
  • Fructose - intolerance (complaints when consuming fruit sugar in the form of fruit and finished products)
  • Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. ulcerative colitis, diverticula, intestinal polyps, Cron's disease
  • Gastritis
  • fatty liver
  • Gallstones
  • inflammation of the liver, bile and pancreas

How brain and intestine are connected

The intestinal brain works independently of the brain. This means that the processes in the intestine are fully automatic. However, external influences, including stressors such as grief, time pressure and anger, can affect the intestinal brain. In these cases, one speaks colloquially of a gut feeling. The gut feeling tells you, for example, whether you feel stressed or tense.

The Abdominal brain forms the autonomous nervous system with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and can therefore send signals to the brain. In professional circles this is referred to as the intestinal-brain axis. If the peritoneal brain is negatively affected, whether by illness or psychological stress, the intestine can react with a motility disorder.

This leads to faulty muscle contractions of the intestinal wall. This Malfunction is the cause for symptoms such as diarrhoea (rapid, jerky contraction) or constipation (slowed irregular contraction) as well as for any type of abdominal pain

Disturbance of the autonomic nervous system: What can happen?

Long-term purely psychological stress can cause disorders in the autonomic nervous system. This is especially the case when the body releases energy during stressful situations. When under mental stress, the sympathetic nervous system activates bodily functions that put the body on alert and provide energy reserves.

If the energy is not converted by the body into movement, muscle tension, headaches, neck pain or even gastrointestinal problems can occur. The activating (sympathetic) and calming (parasympathetic) parts of the nervous system are imbalanced.

Treatment and prevention of irritable bowel syndrome

As a preventive measure against irritable bowel syndrome it helps, Avoid stress. After all, this is a so-called trigger, which Symptoms and complaints intensified causes. If you suffer from chronic stress, therapy can be helpful under certain circumstances.

Successful stress management can thus improve well-being and contribute to a normalisation of intestinal activity. In individual cases, therapies such as acupuncture have also proven to be helpful.

You can also find further information on this topic at irritable