Can Anxiety Cause Constipation?

Constipation is a common digestive problem that can affect anyone. It is characterized by infrequent or difficult bowel movements, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary changes, medications, and stress. Anxiety is a mental health condition that can also have physical symptoms, and it is possible that anxiety can cause constipation.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that is characterized by feelings of worry, fear, and unease. It can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stressful life events, genetics, and environmental factors. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. It can also affect digestive health, leading to constipation.

How Does Anxiety Cause Constipation?

Anxiety can cause constipation in several ways. One of the most common is through a decrease in physical activity. When people are anxious, they often become less active, which can lead to a decrease in the movement of the digestive system. This can cause food to move more slowly through the digestive tract, leading to constipation.

Another way that anxiety can cause constipation is through changes in diet. People who are feeling anxious may find it difficult to eat a balanced diet, which can lead to a decrease in fiber intake. A lack of fiber can also lead to constipation.

Finally, anxiety can cause constipation by causing changes in the hormones that regulate digestion. When people are feeling anxious, their bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can slow down the movement of food through the digestive tract, leading to constipation.

How Can Anxiety-Related Constipation Be Treated?

The first step in treating anxiety-related constipation is to address the underlying anxiety. This can be done with a variety of treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, and medications.

In addition to treating the underlying anxiety, there are a few other steps that can be taken to help relieve constipation. These include drinking plenty of fluids, eating a diet high in fiber, and getting regular exercise. It is also important to speak to a doctor if the constipation does not improve with these measures.

Conclusion

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can cause physical symptoms, including constipation. Anxiety can cause constipation by decreasing physical activity, changing diet, and affecting hormones. The best way to treat anxiety-related constipation is to address the underlying anxiety with therapy or medication. In addition, drinking plenty of fluids, eating a diet high in fiber, and getting regular exercise can help to relieve constipation. If the constipation does not improve with these measures, it is important to speak to a doctor.

FAQs

What is the connection between anxiety and constipation?

Anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as an increase in the production of hormones like cortisol, which can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation.

What are the other symptoms of anxiety?

Other symptoms of anxiety can include difficulty sleeping, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, rapid heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension.

What can I do to reduce my anxiety and constipation?

You can try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation to help reduce anxiety. It is also important to get regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water to help reduce constipation.


References

Bruni, O., D’Ovidio, F., & Baldi, I. (2015). Anxiety and gastrointestinal symptoms: A review. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 69(8), 531-541.

Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, J. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive therapy and research, 36(5), 427-440.

Kashani, L., Sibelli, M., & Ghahraman, B. (2013). Anxiety and its association with gastrointestinal symptoms. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 18(1), 1.