Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Stress and Anxiety

Does stress or anxiety trigger your IBS? What changes have you made to alleviate these triggers?

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3. Stress and Anxiety Triggers for IBS

Stress and anxiety can exacerbate IBS symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating. Different things cause stress for different people. Stress can include:

  • Problems at work

  • Commutes

  • Problems at home

  • Financial problems

  • A sense that things are beyond your control

Prevention Strategies:

  • Practice healthy living. Eat a well-balanced diet that is appropriate for your IBS. Get regular exercise and enough sleep.

  • Do something fun. Listen to music, read, shop, or take a walk.

  • Try behavioral therapy. Learn how to calm yourself down with the help of techniques such as relaxation therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.

  • 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 going out lest your symptoms flare up. 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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