Curious question - anxiety and bowel function

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grit

MyPTSD Pro
I am tickled by a post about a woman whose her husband had washroom issue...sorry I forgot her name so I cannot find the link. Anyhow, for some reason that made think of my own bowel movement and such... I have been reading about IBS and I think I may have that but I never really got diagnosed or anything and it is possible I do not. I think this is just another clever way the body to process or poke its trauma and get notice.

Now, I hope someone can help me with some clarification. Let us say I have IBS with predominant constipation. I have been like this all my life and I "hate" regular people...(**joke aside). Now this has been consistent all my life. But one time when I was under extreme stress and anxiety, I got the runs like just going two or three times and successfully evacuating. If I was not under so much stress (work related and being triggered crazy by the worst type of manager) I would have loved to go to washroom and do my business and get up and leave! but I knew I was loosened up only because my anxiety was so high...I could not sleep.That was like 2yrs ago. Again recently, not being aware of any deep anxiety, I was again sleepless and again going to the washroom multiple times a day and again I loved it except at times I feel like I am not finished and got really uncomfortable...but again I was not sleeping properly so I am little confused now.

In a nutshell:
Regularly (most of my life) - constipated and sleep like a baby. I hate the first and love the second.
Occasionally (maybe once/twice a year) - super loose bowel movements (2 or 3 times a day) but sleepless at night. I love the first and hate the second.

Now my question is this: am I anxious all the time that is causing my constipation? or am I anxious only when I cannot sleep and get the loose ends?
I feel weird that I am happy when loose but I hate lack of sleep. I love sleeping.

I am not sure if I am feeling my body appropriately. Just wondering if anyone, in the world who just happens to be on this site, knows what I am talking about.

I feel if I am only having regular BM when anxious then how do I make myself anxious? I am missing something for sure but...maybe someone can relate.

sorry for the topic. But I simply cannot find any other information online about what does anxiety feels like in this area...
 

Sideways

Moderator
I feel if I am only having regular BM when anxious then how do I make myself anxious?
Just to rehash: your gut does that when it’s anxious because of the amount of stress your body is under at that moment. Stress that is impacting a lot of important organs...like your heart...

Which brings us to: anxiety is one thing influencing the way your gut is working. There are loads of different things that are causing your gut to work the way it’s working (not very well by the sound of it).

If that’s the case, and you want a healthier functioning gut, perhaps looking for ways to improve your gut health might be a better approach?
 

Friday

Moderator
The fight/flight response (nervous system switchover from the parasympathetic to sympathetic) does a number of things... one of which is shut down digestion -which after ratiocination- uses up the most readily available energy. Part of shutting down the digestive system is the void response. At lower levels that simply means needing to use the loo before leaving for the job interview, arriving at the interview, just before the interview, after the interview, as soon as you get home from the interview... or “runners shits / runners pukes”... and at higher levels losing all conscious control right then and there. Piss scared, shit scared, & anxiety puking (stage fright is one of the better known versions of this) are all very real things.

Now my question is this: am I anxious all the time that is causing my constipation? or am I anxious only when I cannot sleep and get the loose ends?

No idea. As @Sideways says, there are a huge number of factors that affect the GI tract. Anxiety is simply one of them. So there could easily be correlation without causation going on.

- Like activity level, hydration, & diet changing with increased anxiety? Will change how your GI tract functions. So, yes, the anxiety is present but it’s secondary, as it’s the change to diet and exercise.

- Another... if you’re not actually constipated, but simply an effecient metabolizer? You won’t need to go more than once or twice a week. Because your body is extracting every available nutrient from what you’re eating, your waste level will be fractional of what an ineffiecent metabolizer passes. 2 people can have the exact same diet, the exact same activity level, and person A will be in the loo twice a day, and person B once a week. Because A is only grabbing about 10% of the available nutrients and B is grabbing 95%. Pretty identical to restaurant garbage cans vs. the home of someone who reuses teabags and the chicken they baked is then used to make stock which is then used to make (insert 7 other dishes here). Huge amounts of waste vs very small amounts of waste. (That’s also part of why you can have people with a huge diet who are rail thin, and tiny diets who are obese.) But when the sympathetic nervous system starts ticking over? That efficiency can be lost. Shrug. Or gained.

- Not even venturing into the effects of chemicals (both consumed, and created; consumed like meds vs created like endorphins -natural opiates, with the same side effects- or beta blockers, which can be either, etc.)

It’s a complicated system, with a ton of contributing factors.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
@Sideways and @Friday
Your thoughts gave me really great insights. I can over determine my struggle sometimes... I love that 10% and 90% analogy about digestion system. I am already allowing love toward my mother... The abuser because honestly as much as she was bad... She was good or I would not be the way I am. I feel resisting love toward her has been crippling me over the years. and I would not be able to recover without therapy, this site and the strength it took to survive. As soon as I wrote this, I started to see differently. I am quite happy going every other day or third day. I am realizing having diarrhea is for me when I am beyond anxious and most likely taking a fundamental turn in my recovery. I feel this now because I have been thinking what happens when I have that...
Usually I feel more integrated or make a change or change is forced upon me by experience and I have to adapt to it.
Merci
 
As someone married to someone with IBS, I've been learning lots about it. There are two usual ways of getting relief from IBS. The first is to maintain a low-FODMAP diet. The second is to use hypnosis to cut down on stress. Research has shown that both work equally well.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
IDK the answer, but I had IBS going several times a day for 25 years. I was extremely active. About 3 yrs ago I got constipated and they diagnosed me with IBS with constipation. I am much less active and sleep many hours a day. Diet is about the same. All that fiber stuff does not help. Rather have runs than feel impacted. If all else fails, there are medications that are not harsh laxatives.
 

shatter eyes

Sponsor
Do u mean most times you packing boulders and when anxious you have a rapid river runs so powerful it moves boulders? And afterwards snakes emerge for a short period of time and then they fossilized into boulders again?

If so... i get it.
I had ripped my planet uranus so many times from constipation and asteriods became hemroids. This was common and then when stress and anxiety spikes the black hole devours the milky way creating a big bang explosion sending galaxies of stars on to the vortex bowl.

..i mean my digestive and nervous system patterns i have noticed a relation to my stress levels.

Medication can also be a factor.
When u get the runs is it acidic and what colour can give you an idea. When i am super stressed and running i have bright yellow mucus.
Under stress the tummy makes more acid and the acid burns the lining. Ulcers can happen. And bleeding.

Adding fibre and eating more warm foods helped my tummy calm down more. All the high stress gave me IBS like symptoms.

I know it feels good to go regular letting the snakes out the cage of colon.

(Sorry of i am weird today and may confuse. I been speaking analogies because i cant describe it properly in medical term)
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Do u mean most times you packing boulders and when anxious you have a rapid river runs so powerful it moves boulders? And afterwards snakes emerge for a short period of time and then they fossilized into boulders again?

If so... i get it.
I had ripped my planet uranus so many times from constipation and asteriods became hemroids. This was common and then when stress and anxiety spikes the black hole devours the milky way creating a big bang explosion sending galaxies of stars on to the vortex bowl.

..i mean my digestive and nervous system patterns i have noticed a relation to my stress levels.

Medication can also be a factor.
When u get the runs is it acidic and what colour can give you an idea. When i am super stressed and running i have bright yellow mucus.
Under stress the tummy makes more acid and the acid burns the lining. Ulcers can happen. And bleeding.

Adding fibre and eating more warm foods helped my tummy calm down more. All the high stress gave me IBS like symptoms.

I know it feels good to go regular letting the snakes out the cage of colon.

(Sorry of i am weird today and may confuse. I been speaking analogies because i cant describe it properly in medical term)
No thank you!!! You started my day with a roar!
I wrote this as I am integrating.... The snakes are becoming more like worms now. I am becoming super aware of fight flight stress' subtle gnawing.
 

shatter eyes

Sponsor
Yup.. sometimes i have slugs and also worms...not real ones.

I forgot to mention that fermented foods and kefir can greatly improve our digestion. The brain and gut needs to be friendly with each other....i read about Gut Brain Axis and how our mood..energy..stress response... are all tied to food and gut health.

I found this about guts brains and ptsd. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Does the Gut Microbiome Hold the Key?
 
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grit

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you so much @shatter eyes
I loved your comments and the delivery!

I have been extremely feeling unbelievable about the BM lately. I am realizing for first time in my life that when I had soft stool was when I was 100% aligned and had anxiety and was in touch about the anxiety. I was not in denial or avoidance. I had a very real stress externally and acknowledgement about it in my life. and internally. The few times I remember related to job situations where I was being terminated or leaving on my own so I have a real memory of these times. I had the runs!
The past few days, I have had a really good BM and I have no real big external stress/anxiety BUT I am acknowledging my mini anxieties that I feel before I was so good at avoiding. Now I feel the tension in the body and I go yeah. I am still angry about that. or anxious of hurt by his comments or whatever. I am more verbal inside my brain to acknowledge the feeling.

I am in touch of the body. Which means, I am no longer disconnected or dissociated and my belly and my mind are one together. It is almost (I do not want to get ahead of myself) if I could will to poo at any time. I used to hate people who could do that on regular basis. eat and go !
now I do that in the past few days...and hoping to keep it up!????

I am really anxious and yet happy about it. it is part of life.
 

shatter eyes

Sponsor
You are welcome and good to know i didnt weird you out with the delivery.

The BM is not talked about often and hard to link up with stress but over time i learned it is an indicator of my health. Thanks for starting this discussion too @grit .
 
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