Stress and the Gut

Most of us know that going through a stressful time can often result in our tummy’s and bowels being affected. This change takes place through the Brain- Gut Axis mentioned in Brain Gut Connection menu.

This happens when stress activates the release of the hormone called Corticotropin-Releasing Factor (CRF). Activation of CRF results in inhibiting (slowing down) upper gastrointestinal (GI) and stimulation of lower GI Motor function. This stimulation of the lower GI results in an increase in gut motility and movement through the bowel, and can also result in diarrhea.

Stress can also result in alteration of the intestinal barrier function (the barrier that keeps bad bugs out) and also increases the sensitivity to colorectal distension( makes the gut more sensitive).

(Stengal & Tache 2009), Annu.Rev.Physiol.71:219-39