Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome?

If so, you know how stressful and frustrating it can be.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common digestive disorder that affects millions of people around the world.

While there is no cure for IBS, there are ways to manage the symptoms and reduce stress.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best tips for managing stress and improving your quality of life if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Can IBS Flare Up Due To Stress?

Although stress does not cause irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, it can worsen symptoms of IBS.

During times of added stress, many people with IBS experience more severe or frequent symptoms.

Since stress may exacerbate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to find ways to manage stress if you suffer from this condition.

Does Stress Affect Bowels?

There is no clear answer as to how stress affects the bowels.

However, it is believed that stress may cause changes in the way the intestines work.

This can lead to symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Why IBS Causes Emotional Stress

People with irritable bowel syndrome or functional gastrointestinal disorders often feel embarrassed and ashamed of their condition.

They may feel like they are the only person in the world who is dealing with this problem.

This can lead to a lot of emotional stress.

In addition, IBS symptoms like abdominal pain can be very unpredictable and disruptive.

This can also lead to added stress and anxiety.

How Stress And Anxiety Can Aggravate IBS Symptoms

When people are feeling stressed or anxious, they may have a harder time controlling their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Stress and anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and chest pain.

It can also lead to emotional symptoms such as irritability, fear, and depression.

All of these symptoms can worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How Can People With IBS Manage Stress? 

There are many different ways that people with irritable bowel syndrome and functional gastrointestinal disorders can manage chronic stress.

Some people find relief through exercise, relaxation techniques, or therapy.

Others find that medications or dietary changes help to reduce their symptoms.

Whatever stress reduction method you choose, it is important to find what works best for you and stick with it.

Relaxation Techniques To Manage IBS Symptoms

IBS patients have found relief from psychological stress, anxiety, and IBS symptoms using many different relaxation techniques.

Yoga, mindfulness meditation, journaling, and deep breathing exercises are excellent relaxation exercises for managing stress levels and IBS symptoms.

Some people also find relief by listening to calming music, guided meditations, or reading.

Once you find what works for you, we suggest choosing a time each day to incorporate relaxation into your daily routine.

Whether it be when you wake up, on your lunch break, or before bed, even just a few minutes can make a world of difference.

Stress Management Tips To Help IBS

Do you have IBS and struggle with stress management?

Below are some helpful tips that may be useful for people with irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid trigger foods
  • Talk to someone about your digestive health
  • Take time for yourself each day

What Foods Are Good For Stress?

There are many different foods that can help with stress relief.

Some of the best foods for managing stress and an upset stomach include:

  • Omega-rich foods such as salmon, flaxseed, and chia seeds
  • Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Vitamin C rich, immune system boosting foods such as oranges, bell peppers, and strawberries
  • Complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats

The best way to find out which foods work best for you is to experiment.

Try adding different stress-relieving, gastrointestinal system friendly foods to your diet and see how you feel.


Managing stress is essential for people with IBS, as it can help to reduce IBS symptoms.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing IBS related stress, these relaxation techniques, dietary suggestions, and tips can help make life a little bit easier.

If you are struggling to reduce stress, don’t hesitate to talk to your GI tract doctor or an alternative medicine therapist about finding a plan that works for you.

Stress management should be part of any comprehensive treatment plan for IBS.

About the Author

Isabella Benn is the lead copywriter and content wizard at Health Apes with an expertise in health research. She specializes in gut health, nutrition, food and recipes.