Our bodies are sensitive, and are easily affected by changes in routine, stress and anxiety. If you find yourself getting constipated when you're stressed, you're definitely not alone.
If you've been very stressed about a one-off event, like a wedding or a job interview, you might also get a bit constipated. This sort of constipation usually disappears in a few days.
Stress and anxiety cause imbalances in the chemicals in your system which affects what is going through your system and your stomach.
Sometimes, things like being busy, not wanting to use a public toilet, or not wanting to go at work or on holiday can make you 'hold on until later'. But, ignoring this urge to go to the toilet can leave you constipated so try and go when you need to.
Take antibacterial wipes with you when you're out if you worry about public toilets, and remember we all need to go at work sometimes!
Worrying about being constipated can make it worse – it's a vicious circle. We're all different and you don't have to go every day - anything between three times a day and three times a week is considered normal.
Managing your stress
We all need a bit of 'me-time' so try one of our stress busting tips:
- Listen to a relaxation CD or MP3
- Try a yoga class
- Sign up for a fun fitness class like Zumba
- Take a relaxing, indulgent bath
- Lose yourself in a good book or your favourite magazine
Stress at Work
It's easier said than done but try and limit some of your work stress if you can. If you've got too much to do, talk to your boss. If you can't cope with full-time work, why not ask about flexible working, like going part-time or working from home?
Going through a tricky patch? Talking to your partner about what's wrong might help, but if you can't face it, try talking it over with friends and family or talk to a relationship counsellor instead. Don't bottle things up.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
If you also have symptoms of IBS like stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist.
Depression and anxiety
Overwhelming anxiety could be a symptom of depression so speak to your GP if this sounds like you. Your GP might prescribe medication or suggest you try counselling or therapy to help you deal with the problems that are making you so anxious.