IBS & Anxiety! How are they connected?

IBS & Anxiety! How are they connected?

Did you know?

People who have IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome), a chronic condition that causes bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, erratic bowel movements, chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, often suffer from anxiety issues. As with most of us, people with IBS worry about money, health, family, and jobs but with a slightly greater intensity.  Having IBS can mean that you are more sensitive to your emotions. Feelings of stress  and anxiety can also make you more aware of spasms in your colon.

Is anxiety causing your IBS? While there are other factors that contribute to IBS, anxiety has been linked as a major contributing cause.

Chronic anxiety affects the central nervous system activating the flight or fight response. If this goes on long enough chronic anxiety can also be linked to “bad bacteria” flourishing in the colon preventing the “good bacteria” from taking hold and gaining strength. Digestion can shut down due to the central nervous system shutting down blood flow to the colon; which affects the contractions of your digestive muscles.   This can affect the colon’s receptors for serotonin. Low serotonin levels directly contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.

How can you help yourself?

There are several natural treatments that can help with the symptoms of IBS as well as natural treatments for anxiety. Here are a few things to get you started.


  • Peppermint Oil- Believed to reduce bloating and discomfort.
  • Ginger- Aids in digestion. Helps to lessen cramping and the feeling of nausea.
  • Chamomile- Helps to calm the stomach and intestines. Can work as an anti-inflammatory agent.


  • Relaxation Therapy – Meditation, Yoga, relaxing music, biofeedback.
  • Talk Therapy – Talking to friends or a therapist can be a big help. Working with a professional can be very helpful to give you  tools to manage the triggers for your anxiety.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Just going for a walk for 30 minutes, three days a week can make a difference.

Remember that we are here if you have any questions or just want to learn more. As always….