These stress-busters can also reduce discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome

Strong emotions like stress, anxiety or depression induce chemicals in the brain which in-turn trigger pain signals in the intestine.

Myupchar September 25, 2019 16:19:31 IST
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These stress-busters can also reduce discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome
  • Strong emotions like stress, anxiety or depression induce chemicals in the brain which in-turn trigger pain signals in the intestine

  • Since brain-gut interactions play a crucial role in inducing and complicating IBS, many people get relief from practising relaxation techniques in their day-to-day life

  • Physical activities like walking, running or swimming also help to relax the body and ease bowel contractions

Our state of mind affects our gut. That’s why we get butterflies in the stomach when we’re falling in love. It’s also why we feel nauseated before an important meeting or interview.

Strong emotions like stress, anxiety or depression induce chemicals in the brain which in-turn trigger pain signals in the intestine.

These stressbusters can also reduce discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome

Representational image.
Image by Darko Djurin from Pixabay

To be sure, these emotions don’t cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But feelings like anxiety and stress can make symptoms worse in IBS patients.

On the other hand, research shows that addressing any mental health problems in addition to IBS treatment is more effective than managing IBS with medicines for the gut alone.

What is IBS

Stomach cramps, bloating, gas, acidity, heartburn, and diarrhoea or constipation or both are all symptoms of IBS, which affects the large intestine. Most of the times these symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes - better diet and eating habits and management of stress and anxiety.

For chronic IBS, one needs to combine medication with other remedies.

IBS typically affects people aged 35-50 years. According to one estimate, 14 out of 100 women and 9 out of 100 men have IBS.

Relaxation techniques to manage IBS

Since brain-gut interactions play a crucial role in inducing and complicating IBS, many people get relief from practising relaxation techniques in their day-to-day life.

Physical activities like walking, running or swimming also help to relax the body and ease bowel contractions. Practising yoga, meditation, relaxation or breathing exercises can help to restore calm.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Deep relaxation therapies can calm your body and mind. When the mind is relaxed, it releases endorphins, a natural painkiller which helps to reduce stomach cramps and other discomforts associated with IBS symptoms.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy: You can improve your body’s reaction to all types of stress, including IBS, by changing the way you think. Instead of focusing on pain and negative thoughts, think positive thoughts. Dwell on happy emotions like love and joy. The more positive your thoughts, the more healthy your gut will be.
  • Biofeedback: Your body temperature and heart rate can tell you a lot about what is going on in your body. You can train yourself to become aware of these feedback mechanisms - this will help you to eventually control them when you are stressed.
  • Hypnotherapy: Through hypnotherapy, a trained therapist can bring your mind and your body to a relaxed state. With a little bit of guidance, you can shift your focus towards the more positive thoughts and activities in your life. Hypnotherapy is not deep sleep. You remain fully awake during the whole process.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is talk therapy which focuses on how your thoughts affect your IBS.

If you have chronic IBS, please consult your doctor before starting any new therapy or exercise routine.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our in-depth article on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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