Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Anxiety

Anxiety IBS are often linked. I added a section on Anxiety and IBS to Anxiety2Calm as it is generally accepted that stress plays a major role in the contraction and treatment of IBS. Anxiety could almost be considered one of the classic IBS symptoms. I have also been astounded by how many readers of Anxiety2Calm have written to me and told me how IBS type symptoms effect their anxiety and mood.

If you have any symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome you must seek medical advice! It is important to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. If you have IBS your doctor should be able to help and advise you.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a hard thing to define. It is not an illness in itself but more a set of symptoms which, when suffered for a prolonged period, are labeled IBS. The symptoms may include some, but by no means all, of the following:

  • Pain and discomfort in the abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhoea/urgency
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Tiredness
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Phobias

This is NOT an exhaustive list of possible symptoms.

It is a little bit controversial to include the last 4 items on the list, but this is a web site primarily about anxiety, panic, stress and depression and I believe that in some cases people’s psychological symptoms are purely a result of their irritable bowel syndrome. I should stress that this is probably the case for some people, but definitely not all or even a large minority.

More commonly IBS is likely to be part of a complex web of symptoms that all fuel each other. There has always been something of the chicken and the egg about anxiety, stress, depression and IBS.

IBS affects different people in different ways, and of course has many causes not all of which are known. But if your own symptoms are stress or anxiety related, then learning to calm your mind will likely help.

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