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Diarrhea can be physically and emotionally stressful

The stress and pressure of modern day life can upset the delicate balance of our digestive systems. Diarrhea caused by stress related to work or social occasions affects some people. Stressful events such as interviews, examinations or having to talk in public are also key culprits. In some cases, just being very busy can in itself be stressful, which can bring on a bout of diarrhea.

You may wonder why this happens

In our intestines, we have muscles, which tighten and relax in rhythmic waves, pushing the contents of the bowel along – literally your bowel movements. This movement is known as ‘peristalsis’ is connected to the central nervous system. When you are nervous, your body produces adrenaline, as well as other powerful chemicals, which can affect your central nervous system by speeding everything up in your body including your intestines. This upsets the natural rhythm of your digestive system, causing your body to absorb less fluid than normal and making your stools become more frequent and watery.

Just a small reduction in the amount of fluid absorbed by the intestines can be enough to lead to an attack of diarrhea.

Luckily there are lots of things you can do to reduce stress levels and the likelihood of suffering a bout of diarrhea.

Make ‘me’ time

The pressures and demands on you can easily become overwhelming, so it’s good to create time for yourself to relax and unwind. It’s important to take proper breaks at work or if you’re looking after the kids, to make sure you have time when someone else looks after them.

Give yourself time to read a magazine, listen to music, or light a candle and have a bath. It’s also important to get enough sleep because you handle stress better if you’re properly rested.

Keep a sense of humour

Laughter is a great stress reducer and boosts the immune system, which is often weakened by stress.


Exercise is a great way to help keep your digestive system healthy. It’s also a very effective way to help you de-stress and feel more confident about yourself. Stretching your body can be good for your digestive health. Yoga has a great reputation for reducing the occurrence of diarrhea, and its gentle breathing techniques and meditative techniques will help you stay calm.


Try to avoid snacking on sugary foods – a sugar rush won’t help your system or your stress levels. Try to eat fruit, vegetables, and fibre-rich snacks instead.