Emotional stress reactivity in irritable bowel syndrome

Bach, Dominik R; Erdmann, Gisela; Schmidtmann, Marco; Mönnikes, Hubert (2006). Emotional stress reactivity in irritable bowel syndrome. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology, 18(6), pp. 629-36. Hagerstown, Md.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/00042737-200606000-00009

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OBJECTIVES: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been proposed to be a stress-related disorder. Research on stress reactivity in IBS has yielded ambiguous results, regarding responses to physical and mental stress. This study aimed to investigate the responses to emotional stress in IBS patients. METHODS: Twelve IBS patients and 12 healthy individuals underwent public speaking anticipation as an emotional stressor and a control situation. Stress reactivity was quantified by subjective and psychophysiological measures. RESULTS: Stress responses were elicited in healthy controls and IBS patients. Differential stress responses were observed in measurements of heart rate. There was no change in rectal sensitivity under stress, whereas patients exhibited lower discomfort thresholds than healthy controls in all conditions. CONCLUSION: This study measured reactivity to an emotional stressor in IBS. It provides evidence that there is a specific alteration of stress responses in IBS patients, but no overall exaggerated stress response. IBS patients showed a broader and less specific response to emotional stress than healthy controls. Rectal sensitivity was unchanged under emotional stress both in IBS patients and healthy controls.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Bach, Dominik






Lippincott Williams & Wilkins




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:16

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PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/21748 (FactScience: 13544)

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