Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Mental Health Support » does Emotional Stress set your crohns off?

10-13-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
AJC - Australia
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does Emotional Stress set your crohns off?

I can cope with physical stress, like shovelling a wheelbarrow of soil or moving house....but emotional stress just kills me.

Are you like that?

What sort of stress sets you off?
diagnosed 1994 aged 18. 3 surgeries. Remicade is my drug.

I believe this could cure crohns disease.

-Dr John Hermon -Taylor is trying to cure Crohn's disease.

Last edited by AJC - Australia; 10-13-2013 at 08:13 PM.
10-13-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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Yeah. If I am so busy I dont have time to be stressed im ok last semester I took 16 college hours and had 12 hours of work a week too and I was fine and then I stopped and so did my body im now taking 12 hours and no job and im still flaring.
I know I over think a lot of things so the less free time I have the less stressed I am if that makes sense....
so anything that I can worry about for long enough sets me off lol!
10-13-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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Definitely. My Nanna passed away just over a week ago and I've been really struggling since, especially the day of her funeral. I've always flared when something upsetting happens.

Physical I cope better with, as long as I take care of my body and don't over-do it.
Crohn's Disease. Currently on: Humira, Imuran, Sulfasalazine, Folic Acid, Somac.
10-13-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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I believe my current flare was caused by stress but not overnight. My grandpa had a massive stroke at the end of 2010 and I became one of his caregivers afterwards. I slowly started having symptoms while caring for him until the flare was made more official this year (I went from remission to clinical remission while caring for him to a full blown flare).
Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
Surgeries: 1 Small Bowel Resection in 1999; Central IV in 1991-92
Meds for CD: 6MP 75mg
Things I take: Tenormin 25mg (PVCs and Tachycardia), Junel (endometriosis), Tylenol 3 (Osteoarthritis), Zantac 150mg 2/day (acid reflux), Klonopin 1mg (Panic Disorder), Imitrex 25mg (migraines), Zofran 8mg (nausea)
Currently in: REMISSION Thought it was a flare but it's just scar tissue from my resection. Dealing with a stricture. Remission from my resection, 19 years and counting.
10-14-2013, 04:32 AM   #5
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I think death/illness in the family has had a massive impact on my health. After my dad passed away I became very ill and it took a long time for me to get better physically from flaring and emotionally. I am now a lot better but still have problems with my health.

I found working long stressful hours a big trigger for me too so have now gone down to mon-fri 9-5 and it has made a work of difference.
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Pentasa, Aza, 6mp, Remicade, Humira and Sulfasalazine
10-14-2013, 05:21 AM   #6
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I'm completely the opposite. Emotional stress doesn't affect any of my physical symptoms. The only physical reaction I have to emotional stimuli is that I can shake more (I have a tremor) in situations when I'm anxious or embarrassed - i.e. when talking to doctors! And emotional stress does exhaust me and actually what I often do after being upset is go to sleep and fall asleep right away. But I don't react physically to emotions in any long-term capacity. These reactions that I do have are very much instantaneous, in the moment - I'm anxious, I shake; I have an upsetting day, I sleep. Then I wake up. As soon as the stimulus is gone, the physical reaction stops. If I go through a period of weeks or months when my stress levels are above average (e.g. long-standing family problems) I never get physically ill from it.

But other than that, no. None of my Crohn's symptoms respond to emotions. They respond to my diet (not to individual foods, mainly to how much I'm eating and how much fibre I'm eating) and for some reason are often worse if I've been on my feet all day, whereas if I've not done much activity they're better.

I really really wish doctors wouldn't always assume that bowel problems relate to emotional stress. When I was first getting ill and was undiagnosed, I went to a doctor and told him the bowel problems I was having. The doctor asked me loads of questions about school and exams and such. I was so confused - I had no idea what he was on about. I was having these terrible bowel problems and he wants to chat with me about school?! Then he revealed that he had decided he knew that my bowel problems were Irritable Bowel Syndrome and were caused by my anxiety over doing well at school.

This made absolutely no sense to me - for one thing I loved school! I had loads of friends, loved my teachers, got good grades and I'm one of those weird people who enjoys doing exams and studying rather than getting stressed by them. But it was like the doctor had, before I even began answering his questions, made up his mind that the cause of bowel problems in a teenage girl must be school anxiety. So after I told him how much I was enjoying school - whilst wondering when we going to get back to the issue I'd actually come to see him about - he said without a shadow of a doubt that all the diarrhoea I was getting was a result of my stressing over exams.

And basically this was the start of an endless stream of doctors appointments in which they would declare various emotional problems as the source of my physical symptoms, whether or not I even had the emotional problem in question in the first place.

It's happened to me so much and been so wrong that I just can't stand anyone suggesting my illnesses are psychosomatic or stress-related anymore.
10-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #7
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UnXmas, I completely understand how you feel. Whenever I get a flare my family claims "It's just stress" as if they are some omniscient doctor of the mind or something.

Stress does set me off, and with exams approaching I know without a doubt it is, but even someone reassuring you it's stress doesn't negate the fact that it is actually happening, and that when reducing stress isn't an option something has to be done.

Diagnosed mid 2009
Past Tx: Prednisolone, Enteral Nutrition
Current: Azathioprine, Omeprazole, EN supplements, Small bowel resection to remove 2 strictures.

"How we survive is what makes us who we are!" - Rise Against

10-14-2013, 07:46 AM   #8
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Stress plays a huge!!!!!!! Role in my Crohn's I get nauseous and bloated and fatigued I get all the symptoms back that we all love even not liking my work affects the way I feel. My cure is to try and relax smile more and pray a lot more!!! It seems like the less u thank about this disease the better I feel? The more ithanl about it the worse I get do my suggestions r prayer and always keep moving regardless how u feel cause if u can keep pressing on mentally eventually ur body well start to feel better as well
10-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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Stress is probably the biggest factor in my Crohn's activity. When I'm very stressed, I'm almost guaranteed a flare. That's hard for me, because I think I like being stressed to some degree -- I'm a college student and push myself very hard -- so it's hard to balance that drive and also what I know is best for my health.
Diagnosed Crohn's in 2011 (age 11)
Surgery in 2011 (age 19), laparoscopic ileocecal resection

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10-14-2013, 10:11 PM   #10
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Stress has definitely been a factor for me, whether I want to admit it or not! It was during a period of stress when my symptoms got worse enough for me to seek a second opinion and get diagnosed properly, and my first big flare that started a few weeks ago was just after a break up. Even though I tried to blow off the whole break up as no big deal, the stress of it still did a toll on my colitis.
10-16-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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Emotional stress is my single biggest trigger for my UC. My worst flare was last year after a very stressful fall, topped off with my mother-in-law passing away.
10-17-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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it is a hard one to define....
i didnt feel that emotional stess caused me any problems at all - prior to being diagnosed with crohns......but since i have had the disease, it seems more and more relevant.
10-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #13
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OMG YES!!!! The emotional stress is the worst for me,I just dont eat when my belly playing up but when stress gets you there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain and Diarrhea with Crohns.
I find having a sleep if poss helps coz when you wake up its never as bad as it was or as bad as you thought it was going to be. Worry is the biggest thing for me,Money and the kids etc are the main worries at the moment. My sons are 20 and 21 but are more stressful for me now than when they were 5 lol
Both at University,Matt,21 just starting his final year doing a History Degree at Lincoln Uni and Andy,20 gave up study this year and now in a Warehouse working full time as he likes the home life and the cash for his weekend on the town......Student life was good but he was poor pmsl.
They say you never get 2 the right they are xxxxxx
10-17-2013, 11:05 PM   #14
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Keeping my GI appointment always makes me feel worse.
As a senior I am encountering ageism at its worst and I have a feeling my GI would like to drop me.I have always been cooperative with everything he has put forward and thought we had a pleasant relationship. I was always aware of his age consciousness though and once made a comment about it when he mentioned age.
It seems that his office receptionists are putting pressure on me by saying for the last two scheduled visits we thought you came to say goodbye!
The first time I thought the girl was mistaken.
It has happened again with two receptionists saying the same thing to me.,and putting the pressure on like playground bullies.One said I looked very well.
(He has just prescribed prednisone for a severe flare) .
Naturally I am very depressed by this and don't feel like taking his RX or ever going back. He said he would see me in two months, his receptionists said three months , since he is too busy.!
I feel this might be a way to reduce patient load. , and wonder if anyone else has had this experience.
Is there a bias against patients who are seniors?
It would be of interest to know if anyone else has encountered this.
What are we to do----it is too difficult to change GIs. There are not enough.
Do I give up and die?
I just don't know what to think or do any more.Very depressing to say the least.

12-08-2013, 06:30 PM   #15
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I'm like that too!!
I am strong, and I can cope with a lot of things, but I am emotionally weak, I think.
I'm in the high school, but it brings me down all the time. I was diagnosed in 2010,and since that I have never ever had a school year without problems with my Crohny...and family problems are making it hard too..and when my doctos says that I've got just fat and I have to control myself while I'm on prednisone...when i see how others are having a great time and thinking 'gosh, im a looser, i have nothing like that' know, it is just too much.
I have also realised, that not only my desease is autoimmun, but me too. I am hurting myself by stressing on everything. i casue the stress which is killing me. and others are just unable to understand that, which makes me even more fearful:O
I am a super sensitive person, which makes me cry on absolute stupid things,in very bad situations... and I hate that. and I stress about being so sensitive...isn't that crazy..?:s
12-10-2013, 05:25 PM   #16
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sounds familiar….and good on you for accepting that you have that issue……i have it too! I rekon most 'crohnies' do, but actually accepting it is the hard bit…..once accepted, then you can work at being better at it. good luck
12-12-2013, 05:21 AM   #17
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Yeah. If I am so busy I dont have time to be stressed im ok last semester I took 16 college hours and had 12 hours of work a week too and I was fine and then I stopped and so did my body im now taking 12 hours and no job and im still flaring.
I know I over think a lot of things so the less free time I have the less stressed I am if that makes sense....
so anything that I can worry about for long enough sets me off lol!
This sounds exactly like me... When I was preoccupied and busy I had pretty much no Crohn's problems... soon as I stopped working, everything went to crap... and finding work in this state is kinda hard... so it's a vicious circle really... worrying about trying to find work to stop yourself worrying about trying to find work...

Emotional stress and stress of any kind does seem to affect me... probably what set my symptoms off in the first place in 6th form... I'd always been such a carefree person before... *sigh* I never thought about Crohn's being a real burden until this year. Before it was just there, now it seems to be an actual problem... which again, makes me worry more and probably makes the flare worse D:

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