If you're suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, the problem might not be entirely in your stomach.
What's locked inside your mind can be just as important as what's going on in your belly -- and a new study confirms the long-suspected link between hidden mental stress and this very physical disorder.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic examined 2,623 patients and found that those who had suffered through serious psychological traumas were far more likely to suffer from IBS than patients without those issues.
Overall, the researchers found evidence of serious mental stress and psychological traumas in half of all IBS patients -- or roughly double the rate of what they found in people without the stomach-wrecking condition.
Other studies have also made a link between past trauma and IBS -- but most of them have focused on abuse.
For the new study, researchers found that any deep trauma at all can "trigger" the IBS symptoms -- car accidents, divorce, death of a loved one, house fires and more -- even if it happened years ago, and even if the patient thinks he or she has overcome it.
In other words, you might be fooling yourself… but you're not fooling your body, and you're certainly not getting one over on your gut.
That's not to say the problems aren't real -- because as the 10 percent of Americans who battle the stomach pain, cramps, bloating and sudden runs to the bathroom that mark IBS will tell you, it's all too real.
And that's because stress, trauma and other issues often written off as "mental problems" can have a real and direct impact on the body itself -- and not just for stomach disorders like IBS.
Pain conditions, including recurring back pain not tied to any specific injury, have strong links to stress and other problems of the mind. The mainstream even acknowledges it -- in its own twisted sort of way: Antidepressants and other "psychological drugs" are often given for pain as well as IBS.
And they work about as well for those conditions as they do for depression -- in other words, not very well at all… and they can come with horrific side effects to boot.
Fortunately, you don't need to turn to these dangerous and ineffective meds for stomach relief (or even pain, but that's a story for another day)… because you've got safer, better and far more natural options.
The researchers behind the new study seem to suggest psychological help, but there are some things you can do on your own, right now, for relief from IBS and other recurring stomach disorders.