Can Stress Cause Intestinal Gas?

Stress can cause an increase in intestinal gas, which will lead to more embarrassing flatulence than you would normal experience. Women tend to complain that stress induces more bloating and gas for them than men do. There are several factors which contribute to this excess gas during stressful times, but fortunately there are a few things that you can do to try to reduce the amount of stress induced bloating and flatulence that you experience.

Increase in Nervous Habits

During stressful times you are more likely to increase in nervous habits that can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas. Some of these habits that people tend to increase when stressed are:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing gum
  • Biting nails

All three of these habits lead to swallowing more air than normal, which leads to an increase in bloating and gas. Focusing on minimizing these habits, even when stressed, will help reduce the amount of flatulence you experience.

Irritation of the Intestines

Stress tends to lead to an increase in the amount of inflammation and irritation in the GI tract. An increase in irritation will lead to more bloating and gas than you are used to experiencing on a normal, less stressful day. Practicing relaxation techniques will help to calm your mind and body, allowing the irritation to decrease and reducing the amount of discomfort you feel from excess bloating and gas caused by stress.

Skipping Meals or Over Eating

People all react to stress differently. Some people will not feel like eating and frequently skip meals. Others may over eat when they are stressed out. Unfortunately, both of these extremes can lead to more gas and bloating. Your system is used to receiving food at specific times, and when you don’t eat on time your body can go a bit haywire. If you are eating more than your body is used to, especially if you have specific comfort foods which are known to cause gas (such as dairy products like ice cream and cheesecakes, or certain fruits and vegetables that are difficult for the body to break down) you will also experience an increase in the discomfort of gas and bloating. Try to focus on eating on time, and a normal amount of food when dealing with stressful times, and avoid those comfort foods known to cause you intestinal discomfort.

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