“But often the two conditions travel together,” says Olafur Palsson, PsyD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina. Why? Nobody knows for surestress hormones may play a rolebut the right remedy may address the connection. If you’ve got chronic gastrointestinal problems, experts suggest the following steps to get real relief.
Keep a daily mood and symptom diary for a week or two, noting any relationship between stressful events, mood swings, and your symptoms. “That way you can present a whole picture to your physician,” Dr. Palsson says.
Tell your doctor if you think you may be depressed. And speak up if you’re experiencing headaches or puzzling pain and fatigue. The Boston University study found that irritable bowel also seems to be associated with migraine and fibromyalgia, a syndrome in which people feel overwhelmingly achy and tired.
Don’t be surprised if your doctor suggests a depression medication. Studies show that certain antidepressants actually relieve some symptoms of IBS, particularly abdominal pain. And that’s something to feel good about.