I have some bad memories from my childhood. Do you think my current problem with IBS has to do any thing with those thoughts?
Dr. Drossman: IBS is a disorder where the symptoms of pain, diarrhea and constipation can be influenced by thoughts and feelings (6;7). This is no surprise; it is common to get bowel symptoms when under stress, like before giving a presentation, traveling, or when experiencing something that is emotionally disturbing, like sexual or physical abuse, or losing a loved one. Conversely the mind has the ability to suppress pain and other symptoms through hypnosis, focused meditation or relaxation. We call this the “brain-gut” connection. There is now scientific evidence to show that early bad memories from childhood including abuse, emotional deprivation, abandonment or major losses can contribute to gastrointestinal or other symptoms later in life(8;9). Rather than actually causing IBS, we believe that traumatic experiences and the emotions that develop trigger physiological changes in the brain that impair its ability to regulate these symptoms. In these cases antidepressants and psychological treatments may be helpful.