Stress and constipation

When we feel overwhelmed by our busy lives or if we're stressed for too long, our digestive systems can pay the price. Thankfully, our bodies send us signals when they're not happy. And one of these is constipation. Stress and constipation often go hand in hand.

How can stress affect your body?

Work stress and constipation

Deadlines, presentations and workloads can all cause stress - and this can have an impact on your gut. When you're stressed, your body releases hormones that trigger your fight or flight response. When this happens, your body diverts the flow of blood from your intestines towards vital organs, including the heart, lungs and brain. As a result of all this, your intestinal movements slow down, and you can become constipated5,2.

Life stress and constipation

Personal problems, money worries and relationship issues can all impact heavily on your digestive system6. These things can all cause emotional stress, and your body can react by becoming constipated3.

Anxiety and constipation

Anxiety and depression are both linked to functional gastrointestinal disorders like constipation. Studies show high rates of constipation in people who suffer from anxiety3. Emotional stress can also exacerbate pain in the bowels, and this can lead to constipation2. If you have symptoms of anxiety or depression, you should speak to your doctor who will be able to help.

Disturbed sleep and constipation

When you aren't getting enough sleep, your tummy might feel bloated or uncomfortable. Poor sleep can also affect your bowel functions and lead to constipation7. To run as it should, your body needs rest and routine.

How does stress trigger constipation?

Although science has shown a strong link between anxiety disorders, stress and constipation, the cause hasn't yet been confirmed1. However, we do know that stress hormones - and their effect on the body - can cause constipation2. Stress can also lead to unhealthy habits that are associated with constipation. For example, when someone is stressed, they are less likely to exercise and get good sleep, and more likely to eat unhealthy food.

A few tricks to move things along

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed can be a real challenge for your body, including your digestive system. And when your body tells you it's unhappy by becoming constipated, it might be time to make some changes to your life to reduce your stress levels.

The Dulco® range

Dulco® products help get your digestive system moving again. We have different types of relief available, including gradual relief, overnight relief and fast relief. All will help your mind and body feel lighter, brighter and clearer.

Stay in the know

Constipation can be bothersome and persistent. And because we know how frustrating and stressful it can be, we can help you identify the causes of your constipation and how to prevent it.

    1. Jessurun JG, van Harten PN, Egberts TC, Pijl YJ, Wilting I, Tenback DE. The Relation between Psychiatric Diagnoses and Constipation in Hospitalized Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study. Psychiatry J. 2016;2016:2459693.

    2. Chang YM, El-Zaatari M, Kao JY. Does stress induce bowel dysfunction?. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;8(6):583-585. doi:10.1586/17474124.2014.911659

    3. Mindsethealth - Anxiety and Constipation - Can Stress Cause Constipation? 2019 Accessed 14/11/2022

    4. Duboc H, Coffin B, Siproudhis L. Disruption of Circadian Rhythms and Gut Motility: An Overview of Underlying Mechanisms and Associated Pathologies. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2020 May/Jun;54(5):405-414

    5. Nall R. How is stress linked with constipation? 2019. MNT (Medical news today). Accessed 14/11/2022

    6. Soares RL. Irritable bowel syndrome: a clinical review. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 14;20(34):12144-60.

    7. Gwee KA. Disturbed sleep and disturbed bowel functions: implications for constipation in healthy individuals. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011;17(2):108-109.