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What are the possible mental health risks of IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been linked to various mental health risks. According to a study, IBS patients are at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Experiencing the symptoms of IBS can lead to depression or anxiety, and depression and anxiety can also make IBS worse. Strong emotions like stress, anxiety, and depression trigger chemicals in the brain that turn on pain signals in the gut, which may cause the colon to react. Stress and anxiety may also make the mind more aware of the sensations in the colon. The study also found that those with IBS-D (predominantly diarrhoea) were more likely to develop anxiety and depression, while those with IBS-C (predominantly constipation) had a greater chance of developing anxiety.

The gut is called the second brain because it has a complex network of nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract, which is also known as the enteric nervous system (ENS) The ENS is capable of controlling gut function, earning it the nickname “second brain”. This neural network is so similar to the brain that it is sometimes referred to as the second brain. [Additionally, the enteric nervous system connects to the central nervous system through the vagus nerve, allowing for two-way communication. This nerve can also operate independently of the central nervous system. Furthermore, research shows that the gut can send signals to the brain in the same way that the brain sends signals to the gut, suggesting that gastrointestinal issues can be the cause as well as the result of stress, anxiety, or depression.

A review of IBS described how –

  1. Microbiota influences serotonin production and signalling, which is important for both mood and IBS regulation
  2. Chemical imbalances in the brain appear to cause some forms of mental illness, while others may be influenced by gut microbiota
  3. Your microbiome and what you eat can dramatically impact your mental health


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