Can Tenesmus happen because of anxiety?

This article will discuss the connection between anxiety and Tenesmus. It will explain what Tenesmus is, and show how one can lead to the other, why, and the best ways to cope with this situation.

Can Tenesmus happen because of anxiety? 

Yes, Tenesmus can be caused by anxiety. Although it is most likely to happen to people that are dealing with stress, and anxiety that already have trouble in their gastrointestinal system, Tenesmus can occur whenever you deal with anxiety.

That is because there is a deep connection between what happens in our bowel, and our emotional state. There is a communication that happens between the bowel and the brain, that happens through a large nerve that is called vagus nerves.

Whenever you are anxious, your body will feel the stress, and that will lead to the activation of the fight or flight response. When that happens, there will be a lot of pressure building up in your body, which can cause you to feel like stool needs to come out, even if there isn’t any to come out.

The stress that is generated by anxiety will also affect the sphincters you have all over your body. And it can cause them to loosen, which prevents it from staying in place, and making you feel like you need to go to the bathroom.

But that is not the only way anxiety will impact your bowel movements. When you are anxious you may also experience diarrhea, constipation, gas, or even discolored stool. 

But since in this article we are focusing on Tenesmus, let’s explain a little more about what this condition is, and what are ways to cope with it, especially when it is related to anxiety.

What is Tenesmus?

Tenesmus is the name given to the urge one person may experience to poop, even though there is nothing for them to evacuate. This is something that is often common in people that have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which includes Crohn’s disease, or Ulcerative Colitis.

It is also a condition that can be caused by any other type of inflammation to the person’s rectum. Examples of those are sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia. Hemorrhoids, or even if men have gone through radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer can lead to Tenesmus.

When a person has Tenesmus they may feel the urge to run to the bathroom every once and a while, which can be extremely detrimental to their quality of life. The most clear symptom of Tenesmus is the sensation that there is a bowel movement even when there isn’t one, and there is no stool in the person’s rectum.

These bowel movements can happen various times throughout the day, and they can be small, or more intense, which will lead the person suffering from them to run to the bathroom each and every time. 

This can happen because when your bowel is irritated, your rectum will often expand and contract itself. This can make you feel like there is a little stool, or even gas to be passed. And this can lead you to feel as if you will have an accident if you don’t run to the bathroom right away. 

But it is important to keep in mind that it is possible to treat Tenesmus. Let’s discuss what are the best ways to treat it.

How can I cope with Tenesmus caused by anxiety? 

To treat Tenesmus that is related to anxiety you may need to focus in two paths. The first one is treating the Tenesmus. For that, it is likely that the person will need medication. Those can often be used in suppository manner, or even oral medication. 

But if you are experiencing Tenesmus caused by anxiety, it may also be important to manage your anxiety so the occurrence of Tenesmus can decrease. To manage your anxiety, it is commonly recommended that you look for professional help.

This means you should look for a therapist, which will be a person with whom you can talk about your emotions, and feelings. Through that, you may learn more  about the triggers, and roots of your anxiety. 

But in some cases, only therapy won’t be enough, and you may be referred to a psychiatrist, which may prescribe you medication to cope with anxiety.

Aside from that, there are many changes you can make to your everyday life that may help you cope with anxiety. One of them is caring for what you eat or drink. Not having too much caffeine, sugar, or alcohol can help. Aside from that, exercising can help reduce your stress levels, and improve your overall sense of well-being.

You may also want to take on meditation, or even breathing exercises as a way to help you cope with anxiety. As you practice one of them, you will be able to focus more on yourself, and in the present, this can take your focus out of anxiety.

And we have talked about therapy, but externalizing your feelings be it through writing, or through talking to your family, or friends can be a powerful tool in coping with anxiety. It will not only give you the chance to vent about how you feel, but it may also give you the chance to get a different perspective on what you are going through.

As your anxious state starts to improve, it is possible that you will feel that Tenesmus is happening less and less, to the point it may even disappear.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can Tenesmus happen because of anxiety? 

What can I do to stop pooping whenever I am anxious? 

If you want to stop pooping whenever you feel anxious, it is important that you pay attention to some matters that may turn your intestines more active. You should be careful with how much coffee you take, and consider what you eat since milk can sometimes make you need to go to the bathroom more often.

Eating foods that are rich in fiber can also help your intestines to work better. Aside from that, you should focus on techniques that will reduce your anxiety such as meditation, and exercise. And if it is still not better, it may be time to look for professional help.

What is poop anxiety? 

Poop anxiety is another form of social anxiety, or to some people it may even be a type of phobia. It is a condition that causes the person to feel more anxious whenever they need to poop in a public space, or anywhere besides their toilet for that matter.

It is something that can be extremely detrimental to the person’s social life, which can prevent them from taking vacations, and affect their work, or study routine. Poop anxiety can be so intense that it can cause people to even become constipated whenever they don’t feel comfortable about going to the bathroom.

This anxiety can often come from the fear of what people will smell, or hear when they are relieving themselves in a public bathroom. So each time they need to use any other bathroom other than theirs, it can be a problem.

How can I cope with poop anxiety? 

Going to therapy may be one of the best ways to cope with poop anxiety. Through the therapy process you will be able to learn the root of it, and create better strategies to cope with the condition.

In some cases, when poop anxiety is too severe, it is possible that the person will need medication, in such cases of anxiety and phobias there is a form of antidepressant that can be prescribed, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which may increase the level of serotonin in the person’s body, which will ultimately improve their mood.

What are the most common symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can affect you in many ways. It will not only lead to physical changes, but it will cause many emotional effects. For the physical ones, you may want to know that anxiety will make your heart beat faster, and also your breathing to become shallow, or also faster.

It can also make you experience sweat, shakes, or even tremors. Anxiety can also make you feel your hands, and feet are numb. Aside from that, anxiety can make your sleep pattern change, causing you to have insomnia, and your gastrointestinal system can be changed.

When talking about the emotional effects of anxiety, it can make you constantly worry about things. It can lead you to feel like you are unable to relax, and this waiting for the worse to happen can make you afraid.

Anxiety will also cause you to focus on the matter that is worrying you, and because of that, you won’t be able to focus on anything else. Those worries are often beyond the person’s control, and because they can make the person uncomfortable, with time they may begin to avoid being in situations that will trigger their anxiety.

Can my anxiety ever get better?

Yes, it is possible for your anxiety to get better. But it is important to remember that anxiety doesn’t have a cure. That is because there is a genetic factor to it, which won’t change even if you go through treatment.  

But if you follow through with your treatment, it is likely that while you discover what is causing your anxiety, and develop new strategies to cope with it, you will be able to feel it less intensely, and it won’t have the same impact on you.

What you should keep in mind, as you recover from anxiety, is that you should still keep caring for your mental health as a way to prevent you from relapsing.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety?

The 3 3 3 rule for anxiety is an exercise you can do whenever you feel anxiety creeping up on you. It is possible to do it as many times as necessary, wherever you need it.

So whenever you feel it is necessary, you should take a deep breath, and then try to name three things that you can hear around you. After that, you should name three things you see in your environment, and lastly, you should name three of your body parts. 

Through that you may remove yourself from the anxiety thought pattern, and focus on something else which may make you calmer.


This article explained the connection between anxiety and Tenesmus. It showed what Tenesmus is, and how it can happen when someone is anxious. Aside from that, the article explained the best ways to cope with Tenesmus caused by anxiety.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


Tenesmus (What Causes the Urge to Poop? + 6 Natural Treatments)

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