Can Stress Cause Diarrhea?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

can stress cause diarrhea

As per the American Institute of Stress, around 33% of people have reported that they’re in grasp of extreme stress. The institute also mentions that around 77% of Americans have reported stress affecting their physical health.

It clearly indicates that extreme stress is followed by health disorders, and diarrhea is a common repercussion worldwide. Every year, the world records around 4 billion cases of diarrhea, which is a worrying figure.

For children, diarrhea is the outcome of malnutrition, but for adults, it might be due to several reasons, out of which stress is a major consideration. Stress is proven to be a natural reaction of the human body, which aggravates from a normal state to a hyper state.

So, can stress cause diarrhea? The answer is YES! Today, this article will give you a glimpse at how excessive and chronic stress can deteriorate your physical health capabilities and lead you to a diarrhea condition. Following that, you’ll also get insight into how to treat the symptoms.

What is the Connection Between Stress and Diarrhea?

When your body is surrounded by stress or anxiety, your nervous system tends to respond adversely. It releases cortisol and adrenaline to stimulate your body to impose action. As a result, your blood pressure will increase, and you’ll be physically more alert than usual.

Stress and gut health is a strong connection than humans realize. The stress on your nervous system will also affect the bowel and intestine muscles. As a result, it’ll deteriorate the intestinal potential for filtering out the waste gut bacteria. Your immune system gets the signal to this problem and tries to heal the problem with inflammatory responses.

But, if you’re consistently stressed out to trigger such problems, the immune system will fail to cope. As a result, the nervous system starts to react adversely when the rate of inflammatory responses by the immune system increases. Hence, this is what leads to the case of mild diarrhea.

Hormonal changes connect chronic stress with diarrhea. Stress also triggers psychological reactions, which later cause diarrhea. This psychological reaction indicates the body for a response to the incapability of the intestines. The body then releases a hormone to put that response into action.

As a result, the brain will send signals to the bowels to increase the motion around the large intestine. And these stressful operations within your body will lead to trigger diarrhea. Hence, this answers the question, “Can stress cause diarrhea?”

Can Stress Cause Diarrhea for Two Weeks?

Diarrhea can be acute or chronic, depending on how the stress infiltrates your body. You should check with the doctor and determine the type of diarrhea you’re going through.

stressed man holding his hair with both hands

If it’s acute diarrhea, then it’ll probably last only for a couple of days. But, if your stress is prolonged and has led you to suffer from chronic diarrhea, it can last for even four or more weeks.

If your body and mind respond to medical treatments and stress therapies, you can heal yourself from diarrhea in just two weeks or less.

At times, stress isn’t the only cause, cast iron skillet diarrhea is also a common cooking flaw that might trigger toxicity of excessive iron in your food and result in diarrhea. If stress therapies aren’t preventing your diarrhea condition, then probably the cause is different. Check with your doctor immediately to consume the right medications.

How to Handle Stress?

There are uncountable reasons that might trigger stress, anxiety, and overwhelming nature in our bodies. Stress can either be due to physical or emotional trauma. There are various reports and studies on how people commonly react to stress. And all of it concludes that the usual responses to a stressful situation include:

  • Develop feelings of shock
  • Feel frightened about the outcome
  • Deterioration in bodily energy and appetite
  • Develop a frustrating attitude towards yourself and surrounding people

One needs to keep himself/herself alert when the stress or anxiety attack hits. And here are a few tested ways to help you calm down your stress levels and prevent adverse mental and physical health disorders that follow stressful situations:

Talk to People

The best way to beat stress is by talking to people. When you encounter something stressful, go to your loved ones or your friends and talk to them about it. Burst the stress bubble in your mind while it’s still a little one. Letting it grow would cause a lot more damage when it finally bursts.

Share the emotional or physical trauma that’s setting you up to feel low and stressed. People around you might have the solution to a problem that you don’t. Therefore, rejecting conversations with people while stressed is a bad practice that worsens the stress outcomes.

Avoid Alcohol or Drugs

Stress may point you toward alcohol and drugs. You might think these elements would help you recover, but eventually, they’ll trigger other problems and amplify the stress that you’re already facing. So, count on avoiding alcohol and drugs while you’re stressed out with other problems.

person filling clear cup with beer

Pamper Yourself

You must take care of your body with yoga and exercises. Along with that, you must also have a proper eating and sleeping routine. If your work is stressing you out, consider taking a break from it and giving time to yourself. Do the things you love and enjoy, such as vacationing, playing sports, or going out for a movie.

All you need to do is pamper yourself during tough times. It’ll ease your mind and will prevent the stress from growing and causing your health troubles.

When Should You Be Concerned About Diarrhea?

Acute diarrhea can be cured with just medications at home. But stress can aggravate your symptoms and worsen them for you to get hospitalized. So, you must be alert and cautious about the symptoms and their worsening nature. As a result, you’ll indicate when you should be more concerned about your Diarrhea condition.

So, you must be concerned about your state of diarrhea if you’re:

  • Witnessing bloody or black stools.  
  • Experiencing intense signs of dehydration.
  • Suffering from diarrhea for more than one or two days.
  • Having critical abdominal pain or pain in the rectum area.
  • Dumping six or more loose stools within the span of 24 hours.
  • Suffering from a high fever of 102 degrees F or even worse alongside diarrhea.

What Are Some Other Stress-Related Symptoms?

Can stress cause back pain? Can stress cause sleep disorders? Can stress cause testicle pain?

A lot of such questions are being asked by people who are willing to connect the dots of their health condition with their stress. Slowly and steadily, people realize that their stress can be lethal to their bodies.

Therefore, to answer these above questions and help you realize the adverse outcomes of stress, aside from diarrhea, here are some of the other associated symptoms:

woman in pain holding her tummy
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Body aches
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Breathing difficulty
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble while having sex
  • Jaw clenching and muscular tension
  • Frequent viral infections and cold problems

Can Stress-Induced Diarrhea Be Avoided?

Stress-induced diarrhea can be avoided with observational remedies. You must first observe your behavior towards stress and realize the need to shift your attention from the stressful situation. Follow some specified ways to handle your stress levels and prevent them from escalating.

If your stress conditions are already worsened and are showing you gastrointestinal problems, then avoid consuming foods that can escalate the diarrhea complexity. You must avoid foods such as dairy products, caffeinated drinks, carbonated drinks, and other items. Talk to your doctor for a list of foods that you should avoid while your stomach is upset.

This way, you can prevent stress-induced diarrhea or get rid of it within a day or two. Relieving yourself from stress is the first step that’ll contribute the most to preventing your stress-induced diarrhea condition.

How to Treat Stress-Related Diarrhea?

In the most minimal stress cases, diarrhea heals itself without the need for medical attention. But, if the symptoms are unbearable, then here are a few ways to treat stress and anxiety diarrhea:

Stay Hydrated

When you’re suffering from diarrhea, your colon and intestine will fail to absorb the fluids and minerals normally. As a result, it’ll cause your body to dehydrate and worsen the diarrhea symptoms.

To avoid this, people with stress-related diarrhea should drink more water or fruit juices to keep the body hydrated.

Avoid Spicy Foods

Your digestive system is under strain due to diarrhea. And spicy foods will only add more of it to your system. It’ll possibly worsen your diarrhea condition and will prolong it.

red and orange chili

Consume Carbohydrates

You should have bland carbohydrates in small quantities to heal or manage your diarrhea symptoms. Prefer to have cooked pasta or rice to fill your body with fluid. Such carbohydrates are easily digestible, which will help heal your digestive system.

Consume Probiotic Supplements

Stress changes the nature of your gut bacteria, which affects the digestive system of your body. Therefore, adding probiotic supplements will boost the growth of good bacteria in your gut to replace the bad gut bacteria and improve your digestive system.

Over-The-Counter Medications

Over-the-Counter medications will eventually reduce the frequency of bowel movements at the initial stage of stress-related diarrhea. But remember that these medications aren’t for infants or children.

These treatments are meant to control the diarrhea symptoms and might heal the acute condition at home. But, if the symptoms persist, it’s possible to have chronic diarrhea, and you might have to seek a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment for a permanent cure.

Who is at Risk for Stress-Induced Diarrhea?

People with a medical condition called, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are more prone to stress-induced diarrhea. When such people stress out, diarrhea becomes an immediate reaction to their bodily functions.

The researchers state that people with IBS have colons in their bodies that are highly reactive to stress. The intestines seem to quickly react more adversely for people with IBS than for people who don’t have it.

Be Stress-Free And Let Your Gut Breathe Healthily!

How Do you Stop Diarrhea Due to Stress?

You need to eat healthy during times of stress, take time for yourself, share with people, and find other impactful ways to deal with your stress before it aggravates to cause diarrhea. You can seek therapies to overcome your stress while there’s still time to recover your mental health.

women bonding time in the living room

If you’re already suffering from diarrhea due to stress, you must stay hydrated, eat healthily and take prescribed medications. Follow your doctor’s advice to heal yourself.

Can You Get Diarrhea From Anxiety?

Stress and anxiety trigger the same nervous system deterioration in your body. As a result, the repercussions to digestive health will also be alike. Hence, diarrhea is possible with anxiety.

What is Stress Diarrhea?

Diarrhea that’s triggered due to a persistent stressful mindset is called stress-induced diarrhea. Stress hampers your nervous system and increases the blood pressure in your body. It indicates a psychological response that signals the digestive system to increase bowel movement, leading to diarrhea.

What is Anxiety Poop?

Anxiety or stress poop is a loose stool that is an outcome due to gut issues, diarrhea, or similar health conditions. At times, blood in your stool also indicates anxiety poop.

Conclusion

This is a complete elaboration on how stress can worsen your gut health and lead you to suffer from diarrhea. You’re now aware of how you can handle stress and treat diarrhea at its initial stage.

Feel free to connect with doctors and therapists to get all-around solutions for treating diarrhea and managing stress. Don’t consume medications you’re unsure about, as they might react adversely to your bodily functions. You should always follow the doctor’s prescriptions for the medicines you consume for diarrhea.

Stress can result in a lot more problems than just diarrhea. So, neglecting it can never be an option. So, make sure you keep a constant check on your mental and physical health over time.

Talking about stress management, we have a supplement called Serenity Mood Enhancement, that can help you overcome stressful thoughts. It promotes better sleep, boosts adrenaline, supports mental & physical recovery, and energizes your body.

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