Many suffer with stress-related diarrhoea

At least half of people have suffered bouts of diarrhoea in the last three months and in many of these cases, stress is the cause, a new survey has revealed.

According to the findings, 58% of people admitted to suffering from recent bouts of diarrhoea and almost half of these cited stress or anxiety as one of the top three causes.

Almost one in three blamed a sensitive gut.

The survey noted that diarrhoea can have a big impact on people’s daily lives. Of those affected, at least half said they were left feeling weak with little energy, while at least one in three said they were prevented from doing a fair amount of their normal activities.

Commenting on the findings, nutritionist and dietician, Aveen Bannon, noted that busy lifestyles and stress can affect the way people eat, which can affect the gut.

“We need to take time out to eat regularly and take time over our meals. The survey highlights that almost half of us are spending only 15 minutes or less eating our main meal of the day. The golden rule is at least 20 minutes otherwise you can increase the risk of wind, bloating and discomfort,” she explained.

She also pointed out that despite the fact that stress is a major cause of diarrhoea, six in 10 people spend less than 90 minutes every day relaxing.

She urged people to seek help with this problem, but acknowledged that many are embarrassed and self-conscious when talking about bowel health.

“Simple lifestyle and dietary changes can make a big difference to people’s digestive health and those suffering should seek help,” Ms Bannon said.

She made a number of suggestions to promote a healthy gut, including:
-Eat fibre. Aim for 24g per day
-Keep hydrated. Aim for 1.5-2l of water or other caffeine-free drinks per day
-Eat regularly. Eat small, regular meals and spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal
-Exercise. Aim for 30-60 minutes per day
-Eat ginger. This may aid digestion
-Reduce stress – Try to identify triggers that make your symptoms worse and ensure you have time to relax.

The survey was carried out on behalf of Imodium.