How Much Does Stress Affect IBS?

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Ask the experts

Does stress affect IBS (make it worse)?

Doctor's response

The simple answer is yes, stress makes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) worse, but stress makes most things worse. The corollary (natural consequence) is that reducing stress may improve IBS, may also be true. Stress is not believed to be the most important factor causing the discomfort of IBS, however, and, therefore, eliminating or reducing stress-though it might improve IBS-will not eliminate it.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE: Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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Reviewed on 6/12/2017