Can Stress Cause Diarrhoea

One widespread side effect of stress is diarrhoea, but it doesn't always happen. In fact, several studies have shown that certain people can potentially gain immunity to stress-induced stomach problems and become less susceptible to diarrhoea with repeated exposure.

This is important because, without a means for the bowel muscles to contract and push waste out quickly, there would be nothing left in their rectum, and they could potentially suffer from faecal incontinence.

The condition's symptoms are flatulence, bloating, and associated cramps for people who can build up a resistance to stress-induced diarrhoea. These few cases aside, there seems to be no other known reason why different people experience stress-induced diarrhoea while others don't.

There is also the possibility that stress could cause permanent damage to the bowel; however, so far, this has not been proven. There have only been a few dozen studies done on stress and its possible relationship to intestinal problems. The results have shown that in some people with diarrhoea triggered by stress, there is a genetic predisposition towards developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory response in the intestines.

This inflammatory process is called intestinal hyperpermeability, and it does seem to contribute to stress-related diarrhoea. Stress also affects the functioning of the nerves in the intestines, which triggers the release of toxic chemicals like histamine that cause some people to be sensitive to stress-induced diarrhoea. Therefore, the best course of action is to not put so much pressure on your bowels with stress.

The symptoms of stress-induced diarrhoea are pretty similar to those of ulcerative colitis, a condition that affects the lower part of the colon. The condition may manifest as pain, colitis (inflammation), bleeding and fever. If you are experiencing these symptoms, an appointment with your doctor is recommended.

The rise of stress-induced diarrhoea has made healthcare professionals search for ways to control the problem. There have been several theories about why stress causes diarrhoea, although none has been proven. One of them is that it could be linked with a version of the "Hindenburg disaster" in 1937. More than 80 people out there suffered from stress-induced colitis, and almost half who developed the illness died from it. After the Hindenburg disaster, people were afraid of flying. This left an association between flying and stress-induced colitis, which may have influenced modern studies about gastrointestinal problems caused by stress.

One theory involved a study done on cattle by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. They found that stress could cause diarrhoea in cattle. However, the main reason behind this result is that the cattle had never been exposed to stress before.

Another theory suggests that stress triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals from the intestines. This response leads to diarrhoea, and people can react to it differently.

Finally, it is possible that when people are under a lot of pressure, they could suffer from intestinal problems because their bodies are stopped secreting digestive enzymes, which produces an uncomfortable feeling called Clarey's syndrome in some people due to its similarity with indigestion.

These theories are all theoretical and cannot directly explain why different people experience different symptoms when stressed out in everyday life for various reasons. However, not everyone who participates in stress-induced diarrhoea builds up a tolerance to it. The condition can be treated, so it is better to be aware of possible side effects.

Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic disorder of the human abdominal cavity, with an estimated prevalence of 2% in all populations. It is characterized by various symptoms commonly associated with functional conditions like diarrhoea or constipation. A specific subset of IBS is characterized by abdominal pain worsened during stress, such as after physical or mental exertion or anxiety.

One possible explanation for this is that "abdominal pain syndromes are a common complication of stress, and stress has been shown to exacerbate symptoms in IBS patients."
Under stress, a variety of factors may affect the gastrointestinal tract. These include decreased splanchnic blood flow, sympathetic efferent activity and cholinergic stimulation. The neurotransmitter serotonin, which is released by the enterochromaffin cells of the intestine in response to food intake, can mediate these effects and has also been implicated in functional bowel disorders.