Many of us have first-hand experience of the way stress impacts our digestive system. But might it work the other way round too, and might improving our gut health help our mental health?
If you’ve ever had ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, or have described yourself as being ‘sick with nerves’, you’ll be aware of the connection between anxiety and gut health. Stress is a bodily experience as much as a mental one, and there is a lot of truth encoded in sayings like “I feel it in my gut”.
For some people, this might manifest as needing to rush to the toilet in nerve-wracking situations. For others it might mean a double-whammy of gut symptoms and chronic stress. There’s a well-known link between anxiety disorders and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In one study, 44% of patients with IBS also suffered with anxiety.
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