Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Tracy in Bolton, Massachusetts. Can stress or anxiety cause diarrhea?
Having loose and watery bowel movements as well as cramps in the abdomen can be most inconvenient when it interferes with your daily activities, simply because you always need to be close to a toilet. You’re constantly thirsty. You feel tired, dizzy and you look washed out.
Worldwide, diarrhea is also a major cause of death in babies and young children. There are a number of reasons why we get diarrhea where body waste is passed through the rectum and anus. Certain medications, bacteria disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, problems with digesting certain foods, as well as parasites, are some of the causes of this unpleasant condition.
But can stress or anxiety cause diarrhea? Yes. It can and our bodies react with physical changes such as tensing up of muscles, as well as an increase in our heart rate and respiration. The colon’s contractions speed up and this results in diarrhea.
Contrary to what many people think, it’s also possible to have stress-induced diarrhea without having IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. There are a number of stress management techniques as well as medications which help the body to become more resilient to outside stressors.
By restoring balance to the intestinal tract, probiotics are a fast, effective remedy often eliminating the condition within a few days. Activities which are useful in helping you to deal with stressful situations are yoga, meditation and Tai chi. Each time you have a bowel movement you lose fluids. Diarrhea causes you to lose even more fluids and you need to be alert for dehydration.
Over the counter remedies can be of use, but it’s best in the meantime to drink plenty of water and fluids containing sodium, potassium and chloride. It’s imperative to be in contact with a doctor if your dehydration is serious and persists.