Does Anxiety Cause Diarrhea?

does anxiety cause diarrhea
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What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It’s a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something that may or may not be happening. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, but it often shows up as physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, and trembling. Anxiety can become a problem when it’s so intense or lasts so long that it starts to interfere with your life and your ability to function. In these cases, anxiety can develop into a disorder.

Can Anxiety Cause Diarrhea?

The answer is yes. Anxiety is known to cause a wide range of physical symptoms, including diarrhea. In some cases, the diarrhea may be due to the body’s response to stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can cause the body to release extra water and electrolytes, leading to loose stools. In other cases, the anxiety itself may cause the digestive system to speed up, leading to diarrhea.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, each with their own set of symptoms and treatments. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety disorder. People with GAD experience excessive and irrational worry and fear that can interfere with their daily activities. Other common types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms of Anxiety-Related Diarrhea

Anxiety-related diarrhea can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include frequent and urgent bowel movements, abdominal pain and cramping, feeling of incomplete evacuation, and loose or watery stools. In some cases, the diarrhea may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

How to Treat Anxiety-Related Diarrhea

The first step in treating anxiety-related diarrhea is to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can help you determine if your symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder or another underlying medical condition. Treatment for anxiety-related diarrhea may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.


Talking to a mental health professional can be an effective way to manage anxiety-related diarrhea. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to the anxiety. Other forms of therapy, such as relaxation techniques and mindfulness, can also help reduce anxiety and its physical symptoms.


In some cases, medication may be necessary to help manage anxiety-related diarrhea. Your doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or antidiarrheal medications. It’s important to take any medications as prescribed and to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects.

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can also help manage anxiety-related diarrhea. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can all help reduce stress levels and improve overall physical and mental health. Additionally, it’s important to practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing or mediation. You may also want to consider joining a support group or talking to a therapist.


Anxiety can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, including diarrhea. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can get the proper treatment. Treatment for anxiety-related diarrhea may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. With the right treatment plan, you can manage your anxiety and its physical symptoms.

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