Can psychological trauma and issues cause physical ailments? A recent study found a link between psychological and emotional trauma and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) according to a ScienceDaily article. The study is not suggesting that psychological trauma is a sole cause of irritable bowel syndrome, but rather it could contribute to the health condition.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a health condition that is characterized by pain in the abdomen, cramping, bowel movement issues and bloating, according to an article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. The ScienceDaily article said that women are more likely to have IBS than men.
The article went on to say that “trauma may sensitize the brain and the gut,” and IBS is thought to be “caused by changes in the nerves and muscles that control sensation and motility of the bowel," supporting a link between trauma and IBS.
“The results of this study indicate that patients with IBS experience or report traumas at a level higher than patients without IBS,” according to the article. Trauma varies from childhood abuse to sexual abuse, and stress has also been linked to irritable bowel syndrome.
While this study suggests psychological trauma could contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, it also brings up the question of what other health conditions could be partially caused, worsened or impacted by psychological trauma.
Mikaya Heart, a life coach and author, said in an email that she believes emotions, thoughts and the body are linked together, since the body is a “specific mass of energy or an energetic field.”
“When a person is recovering from a traumatic experience, there will be emotions and thoughts related to that trauma remaining within that person’s energetic field,” Heart said. “Internal conflict of any kind can result in physical problems; lingering emotions that are not expressed remain held within the energetic body. Toxicity from any source, physical or psychological, can manifest physically and/or psychologically.”
Heart even goes as far to say that all health conditions could technically be linked to mental health issues in some way.