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Does stress cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Although stress does not cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), some people find that stress can bring on a flare-up in their disease. If you think this is happening to you, try using relaxation techniques, such as slow breathing. Also, be sure to get enough sleep.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

While stress can worsen someone's gastrointestinal symptoms, stress is not thought to cause IBD. Learn more from Dr. Eugene Yen on behalf of NorthShore University HealthSystem about stress and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Dr. William B. Salt, MD
Gastroenterologist
Chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are far too complex to simply attribute their development to psychological stress or bad attitudes. You may participate in some activities that predispose you to illness or disease, but you do not cause your disease. Do not blame yourself.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

One in five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or other functional bowel disorders. As a result, irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of worker absenteeism. This...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.