While diarrhea can be a symptom of various health conditions or a person dealing with digestive issues, it can also be attributed to stress or anxiety. Stress or chronic anxiety like continual nervousness, fearfulness is a leading factor for a wide range of gastrointestinal problems, and diarrhea is one common side-effect.

Today, to sustain in the fast-paced life; it is common to witness stress and anxiety-related issues; which is likely to show its side-effects on the physical well-being of a person. It is helpful to understand its reasons for occurrence and apply simple strategies in our daily routine to help manage this unpleasant physical symptom.

Anxiety Diarrhea: The Connection

The connection between the gut and the brain, also knows at the gut-brain axis (GBA) is connected to a person’s central nervous system and the enteric nervous system (ENS). ENS is the essential nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract and is affected by the unpleasant thoughts of the brain. 

The link works both ways. For instance, if you are facing indigestion or gastrointestinal problems; it can impact your psychological behavior too. 

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that if someone is feeling stressed or anxious, the body releases chemicals and hormones which enter the digestive tract and trigger gut bacteria and organisms leading to chemical imbalances in the brain thus causing anxiety diarrhea. 


Causes of Anxiety Diarrhea

Some of the Mental Causes leading to anxiety diarrhea are: 

  • Agitation
  • Mood Swings
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Annoyance/ Scare
  • Chronic Anxiety 


Symptoms of Anxiety Diarrhea

As we understand the connection between our bodies and brain and their undeniable effects on each other the following symptoms should be looked into.  

  • Stomach ache/cramps
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Unusual Hunger Cravings
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Constipation
  • Burning stomach
  • Gastric Ulcers 
  • Duodenal Ulcers (Ulcers in Small Intestine) 


Dealing with Anxiety Diarrhea

Today, as the world is advancing and to keep ourselves at par we continuously compete to survive aiming to give ourselves a better quality of life. It is a common by-product of this competition that most of us have to deal with a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis and we experience episodes of fear and unpleasant thought, which in turn affects our overall well-being.

It is very important to keep our stress levels in check and imbibe in our daily lives the following key activities which will prove helpful. 



Avoid Food That Causes Indigestion

When anxious, we get drawn to junk food and snacks which can cause a great deal of abdominal discomfort. It is advisable to chart your food intake to avoid excess consumption of oil, caffeine, and sugar. 


Prioritizing Work

Take a moment to examine whether any particular tasks are adding to your stress on a larger scale. Separate responsibilities and unwanted work; and prioritize what’s important for today. Excess work will exhaust your brain, leading to physical ailments.

Breathe – Practice Pranayama and Yoga 

If you are over-loaded with work, take some time out to breathe. Practice deep breathing on and off which will not only calm your brain but also keep you physically fit.


So much of our work today involves sitting at one place in front of our computer and laptop screens. This just slows digestion and there is no exercise to burn the pent up negativity which can cause anxiety diarrhea. For this take short breaks from work every once in a while or fit a brisk walk in your daily routine.


You can help yourself a great deal by following practices like yoga, meditation, and exercises. It impacts your overall development positively.


 Indulge in talking to yourself positively and understand it is ok to say ‘No’. Also, it is easy for one to go down the self-blame road, but it is unhealthy; thus practice self-compassion; by giving yourself some credit and love. These self-care practices will put you at ease and you will feel more confident to cope with any kind of stress. 


When to Seek Medical Advice? 

 In many circumstances, while stress can seem manageable but if you are showing anxiety triggered diarrhea for several weeks, seek medical advice. It is also advisable to seek medical consultation if you are showcasing symptoms like blood in stools, difficulty in swallowing food, unexplained vomiting or weight loss, or severe anxiety and depression.

Since, you know now that indigestion can get triggered with the nervous energy and vice versa, knowing your triggers and imbibing good health practices in your day-to-day activities can help you lead a better quality of life.