Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also known as spastic colon) is surprisingly common in people who have experienced a prolonged anxiety problem. Symptoms of I.B.S include stomach bloating, acid reflux, trapped wind, constipation, diarrheoa, stomach pains, sore rectum and gastrointestinal discomfort.
It can also cause notable variations in the types of bowel movements that we have and the frequency in which they occur. Some people can observe which foods tend to ‘trigger’ the I.B.S, with some of the most common being foods that contain spice, gluten, wheat, lactose, fat and high amounts of sugar (it varies for each individual). It is not uncommon for people who have undergone large amounts of stress to develop intolerances to the food listed above.
Anxiety affects the body’s chemistry, which in turn affects things such as the immune system, hormone production and the digestive cycle. I don’t know the full biological process of how anxiety affects the digestive tract, but there is officialised medical print to confirm the direct link between the two.
What is known is that anxiety can cause changes to our blood pressure, metabolism and also creates excessive amounts of muscle tension – particularly in the abdomen. This leaves no doubt as to the impact anxiety can have on abdominal area, which contains the fuelling engine for our bodies.
The symptoms of I.B.S usually run exclusively alongside the symptoms of anxiety. Bloating and irregular digestive patterns are some of the most common. There also seems to be a direct link to heart palpitations also. When stomach gases build up they cause pressure against the sternum and upper abdomen. This sometimes causes the ‘flutter’ or ‘skipping a beat’ effect that are prominent in many anxiety sufferers.
If your symptoms are concerning you I recommend you check into your GP for a check-up. Furthermore, you can book an appointment at the Panic Room and discuss your issues and worries.