On the best of days, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a painful thing to live with. During times of stress, sufferers will tell you it gets even worse.
Research is coming to light that seems to back this up.
"The findings are based on 552 men and women with Crohn's disease or colitis who completed surveys every three months for one year. The surveys asked about, among other things, symptom flare-ups, stressful events and perceived stress -- that is, how well patients felt they could deal with their daily stresses."
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the best known IBD conditions, though the name applies to any condition that involves chronic inflammation in the intestines and causes abdominal pain and diarrhea.
It is suspected that an overreaction by the immune system launches an attack on the intestines. And during times of stress, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and may be worsening the inflammation. Stress hormones may also contribute to a flare-up.