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Stress and Anxiety Induced Diarrhea

Causes of diarrhea: stress & anxiety

We know that the pressures and demands of life can have a real impact on our day-to-day routines and can be a common trigger for diarrhea.

How your mood can affect diarrhea

We conducted an in-depth study of over 2,000 sufferers of frequent acute diarrhea from over 14 different countries. They shared their experiences with us. In the U.S., 25% of frequent acute diarrhea sufferers indicated that nerves, anxiety, or stress were the cause of their diarrhea. Stress can take its toll on the digestive system.

How to deal with stress

We all get stressed now and then. Sometimes diarrhea can be your body’s way of telling you that you’re under pressure — but diarrhea can also make life even more difficult.

To help manage stress, try guided breathing exercises or other meditative techniques1. Maintaining good health with a balanced diet and physical activity can also help to stabilize mood2.

Read our tips on how to deal with stress

Gut health and anxiety

Stress and anxiety may also affect your gut health due to what is known as the gut-brain connection3.

Stress and diarrhea often go hand in hand because mood can cause changes in gut bacteria, resulting in digestive problems4. Likewise, gut issues can send signals to your brain and affect your mood3. Discomfort from diarrhea can also become a source of stress.

To manage gut issues and anxiety or stress, try improving your gut health by maintaining a healthy diet that is beneficial for gut bacteria5.

Learn more about how to improve your gut health

It’s quite normal to experience stress

Having diarrhea can be stressful in and of itself, especially if you’re already feeling under pressure. IMODIUM® products contain an active ingredient called loperamide, which works to help restore your digestive system to its normal pace — giving you one less thing to feel anxious about. If symptoms persist for more than two days or get worse, consult your healthcare professional.

Tips for Managing Diarrhea


1. Corliss J. Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Harvard Health Publishing. Published September 10, 2019. Accessed December 19, 2021.
2. Stress and Health. Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed December 19, 2021.
3. The Gut-Brain Connection. Harvard Health Publishing. Published April 19, 2021. Accessed December 19, 2021.
4. Shaw W, Labott-Smith S, Burg MM. Stress Effects on the Body. American Psychological Association. Published November 1, 2018. Accessed December 19, 2021.
5. Valdes AM, Walter J, Segal E, Spector TD. Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. BMJ. 2018;361:k2179. doi:10.1136/bmj.k2179

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