IBS, Stress, & Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Goodpath Medical Team,

IBS, Stress, & Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Stress can increase your Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms. During periods of elevated stress, like many people are currently experiencing due to coronavirus concerns, it is important to be mindful of how stress levels can negatively impact IBS. 

Why Stress Can Negatively Impact IBS

  • Gastrointestinal balance. Stress may affect the balance of healthy vs. unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Research has indicated there may be a gut-brain interaction-link between the brain and the GI tract. 

  • Lack of routine.  Routine and consistent management of IBS symptoms are key to caring for the condition. With the need for social isolation, the closing of work locations, and reduced non-essential services people are experiencing drastic changes to their day-to-day routine. This leads to higher stress levels and disrupts the ability of people to manage their IBS.

  • High Stress Events.  Recent research has shown worse symptoms and reduced quality of life for those with IBS who perceive that they have experienced negative life events recently. The coronavirus and its impact on the daily lives of individuals certainly qualifies as a high stress event for many and will likely lead to an increase in IBS symptoms for some individuals.

Tips to Manage Your Stress and IBS

  • CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective in managing stress levels and has led to improved IBS outcomes when compared to individuals that don’t practice CBT.

  • Relaxation Therapy. Similar to CBT, relaxation therapies have been shown to result in better outcomes for patients with IBS compared to patients not practicing relaxation therapies. Goodpath IBS kits commonly include relaxation solutions, such as Yoga for Stress and Anxiety Reduction and Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

  • Low FODMAP Diet. FODMAP is the acronym for a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine. Practicing a low FODMAP diet has been shown to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Goodpath’s low FODMAP diet guide might help reduce GI symptoms and achieve diet and nutrition goals.

As we continue to better understand the severity and consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, stress related to the situation is likely to remain high. Individuals can take steps to better manage their stress and their IBS symptoms.

Take the Goodpath IBS Assessment if you want to know what plan we recommend for you.