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Why does stress lead to diarrhea for so many people?

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  • Why does stress lead to diarrhea for so many people?

    I know that lot of people right before/right after public speaking, a big meeting, stressful event, etc. people experience loose, urgent stool. Why does this happen? I put it into a basic google search, and got lots of people asking if stress COULD lead to that, but not any explanations why.

    Does only happen to people with compromised guts (if so, why?) or does it happen even to healthy guts (and again, why?)

    I know it's kind of a gross topic, but I'd really like to understand it

  • #2
    Very interesting. I never really researched this, but I can say that it's unequivocally true for me. I can think of several examples when this happened to me: just before a big presentation or solo musical performance; before approaching my girlfriend's dad and making my case for why he shouldn't kill me (back in high school); or even during halftime of an exceptionally close/tense sports game I'm watching where I'm somehow vested in the outcome.

    Perhaps it's part of the fight/flight instinct. For those of us more suited to flight, it could be the body's way of, uh...lightening the load just prior to an anticipated flight.