Stress May Cause Diarrhoea?

The most prevalent digestive symptom caused by stress is diarrhoea. The digestive system is frequently one of the first bodily systems to be affected by stress. Stress initiates the “fight or flight” response, which diverts blood away from the digestive system and towards the muscles, preparing the body for action.

There are various forms of stress-induced diarrhoea, including acute ones, which are often brief, and chronic diarrhoea, which lasts longer. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterised by recurrent stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.

There have been numerous hypotheses on the precise mechanism through which stress induces diarrhoea. According to one idea, stress activates the enteric nervous system (ENS), a network of nerves that regulates digestion. The activation of the ENS by stress can result in a range of digestive problems, including diarrhoea.

Stress and Hormones

Stress stimulates the production of the hormone cortisol, which has a direct effect on the digestive system, according to a second idea. Cortisol slows digestion, causing food to travel more slowly through the digestive tract. This might result in the accumulation of gas and fluids, which can induce diarrhoea.

Furthermore, stress can disrupt the equilibrium of bacteria in the stomach, resulting in digestive issues. This is because stress changes how the gut absorbs and processes food, hence affecting the gut microbiota.



Measures to Prevent Stress-Induced Diarrhoea

  • Managing stress is the most effective strategy to prevent diarrhoea caused by stress. This can be accomplished through a variety of strategies, including exercise, meditation, yoga, and other methods of stress management.
  • A well-balanced diet high in fibre and low in sugar and fat can be really helpful in this condition. It is also vital to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Caffeine and alcohol can irritate the digestive tract and aggravate diarrhoea caused by stress. Try to limit your use of these chemicals, if not completely remove them.
  • Regular exercise is an excellent strategy to reduce stress and enhance digestive health. Aim for 30 minutes of daily physical activity and attempt to include some type of resistance training.
  • Consider therapy or counselling: If stress is creating a considerable disturbance in your life, it may be good to seek therapy or counselling. A mental health expert can assist you in identifying the source of your stress and developing coping mechanisms to manage it.


Diarrhoea is a common intestinal disorder that can be induced by the body’s “fight or flight” response when it is stressed. For prevention, it is essential to manage stress, maintain a good diet, avoid coffee and alcohol, exercise regularly, and if required, seek therapy or counselling. It is possible to lessen the effects of stress on the digestive system and avoid stress-induced diarrhoea with the correct care and attention.

  • Do you think stress can really be a cause of diarrhoea?

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