I believe that it is possible that the causal factors in IBS can cause anxiety as well. But while IBS and anxiety can be related, it is not necessary to have a relationship between them. For instance all people suffering from IBS may not suffer from anxiety or vice-versa.
Many people with IBS, though, do suffer from anxiety. The onset of an attack can be caused by anxiety or the onset of an attack can cause anxiety. For instance, knowing you can suffer from an IBS attack can cause you fear, and/or when you suffer from an IBS attack you can suffer from fear of the other symptoms (eg: a washroom emergency with no washroom around): Hence your anxiety.
Yeah, ever since I just recently got diagnosed with IBS by my doctor, I've kept his words in my mind about how sometimes anxiety and stress can go hand in hand with IBS sufferers. Maybe not ALL the time, but many times this is a factor in many people who have IBS.
I have IBS-D too, and I can ALWAYS tell when I'm really stressed or anxious about something because my stomach starts to gripe and I have spasms. I've had symptoms of IBS-D for two years now (even though I didn't know what it was before...I thought I was going crazy, dying of some fatal illness or virus, or had stomach cancer or something!) , I can always look back to the times when I would have my stomach pain, and always be able to connect it with some kind of stressor or anxiety-inducing event. In fact, when I had my FIRST IBS-D outbreak about 2 years ago, I had JUST started college at a new HUGE university, and although I was doing well, subconsiously it was stressing me out.
Since I now realize that sometimes anxiety can be a cause of the spasms, when I do get a terrible IBS-D outbreak/stomach/bout of diarhea, I always try to calm myself down and ask myself "okay...what's causing you anxiety today?" Usually I do that with some simple breathing techniques to calm myself down. I tend to get anxious sometimes depending on how things in my life (stressors) are going. If I'm under a lot of stress, I'll tend to get anxious more often. I think I'm just a worry-wort sometimes.
But anway, since that bit of "info" the doc told me about stress-IBSD, I have been making strides to try to contain my stress levels. I do relaxation techniques like taking a nice warm bath, breathing deeply, listening to quiet soothing music, lighting candles, and I've even started an exercise regimen since exercise tends to make you feel better.
Let me tell you, this has done WONDERS for me! I dont' know if this will work for everyone, but I notice that since doing these techniques, I don't suffer as often from stomach pain or diarhea. I can go longer now without having a "tummy ache". :-D
I truly believe that there is a mind-body connection in everyone, and that some disorders or health problems may indeed be psychosomatic. I have now found from personal experience that your mind can greatly affect your physical health.
Good luck! :-)
Last edited by sweet_chic; 10-01-2004 at 08:59 AM.