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Can diarrhoea be caused by stress?

26 February 2024

Stress and anxiety are emotions that we all experience at various times in our lives. They are natural responses to challenging situations, but when they become chronic or overwhelming, they can have a negative impact on our overall health. One way in which stress and anxiety can manifest physically is through digestive issues, such as diarrhoea. It is widely known that the digestive system is the second nervous system.

Can stress cause diarrhoea?

When we experience stress or anxiety, our body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can affect various systems, including the digestive system. The gut has its own nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system, which is connected to the brain through a bidirectional communication pathway called the gut-brain axis. This connection allows our emotions to influence our digestive processes, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea is defined as loose, watery stools occurring more than three times a day. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can stimulate the intestines, causing them to contract more frequently, which speeds up the passage of stool through the digestive tract can affect the motility of the intestines.

Common symptoms of stress and anxiety-related diarrhoea

Stress and anxiety-related diarrhoea can also present with other symptoms. These may include abdominal cramps, bloating, urgency to have a bowel movement, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation. These symptoms can vary in severity and frequency depending on the individual and the underlying cause of their stress or anxiety. IBS symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, gas are all within the realm of stress diarrhoea.

For Diarrhoea treatment you can use:

Doctor Gut: Diarrhoea Relief Liquid Sticks 10's Suitable for adults and children aged 2+ Vegetarian & Vegan.

Doctor Gut: Diarrhoea Relief 10 Sachets Fast recovery from both acute and chronic diarrhoea. Suitable for Adults and children over 6. Vegetarian & Vegan

Doctor Gut: Bloating Relief 15's Relieves symptoms of: abdominal pain, bloating, gas and flatulence. Suitable for adults and children over 12. Vegetarian & Vegan

Doctor Gut: IBS Relief 15's Relieves IBS symptoms of: abdominal pain, bloating, gas. Suitable for adults and children over 12. Vegetarian & Vegan

Can diarrhoea cause dehydration?

Short term diarrhoea does not cause concern but long lasting severe diarrhoea does cause dehydration to children and adults. Mostly affected are babies, older adults and people who have not realised that they are dehydrated. Some simple signs of dehydration is darker urine, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, headaches.

What to drink for dehydration after diarrhoea:

Mild to moderate dehydration from diarrhoea can be improved by drinking water and other liquids. Fruit juice should be avoided as it will make it worse. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks when you have diarrhoea.

Electrolytes include minerals which need to be restored to the body which water cannot supply.

For dehydration after diarrhoea you can use the following:

Designs For Health: Electrolyte Synergy - 240g For adults

Kiki Health: Ionic Electrolytes Liquid Concentrate 50ml For adults and children over 4

Seeking Health: Optimal Electrolyte (Orange Flavour) - 244g

Gutology: Gutology Hydrate - 360g

How to stop stress diarrhoea:

There are strategies for managing stress and anxiety to reduce diarrhoea. It is crucial for reducing the occurrence of stress diarrhoea.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques:

Practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can help calm the mind and relax the body, reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Regular exercise: your body can only benefit with regular exercise and even walking.

We also recommend:

Healthy Gut: BeSerene IR - 53ml

Healthy Body - Healthy Mind

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