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Why do anxious feelings create the need to go to toilet frequently?

177 Answers
Last Updated: 02/18/2021 at 11:30am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Amelia Winsby, PsyD


I often work with clients who experience a wide range of emotions and difficulties. I am non-judgmental and enjoy working with individuals from all walks of life.

Top Rated Answers
March 27th, 2019 6:24pm
There are quite a few reasons that could create the need to urinate frequently with anxiety. One reason could be muscle tension. When you are anxious, all of your muscles tense, even the muscles that surround the bladder, and that could lead to needing to go to the bathroom. Another reason could be a sensory/light overload. Because anxiety comes from the fight/flight reflex, it could be an overload of that system. Like when it comes to a scary moment, it could lead you to wet your pants unintentionally, the need to go to the bathroom due to anxiety can manifest through a smaller version of that unintentional system malfunction.
July 26th, 2019 1:52am
I have read that our central nervous system is connected to our bowels in a way that it can affect our bodies in a state of fear. That can be mistaken as IBS or other digestive symptoms, hence the physical reactions to stress. I've been checked for certain things that I never linked to anxiety or extreme stress (and not just the frequent--or lack of visits to the bathroom). It can cause even more anxiety so it's best to consult with a doctor or physician about these things if they persist, and can help find options to alleviate that!
August 2nd, 2019 11:21am
When you are in bathroom, you feel safer because you know no one is going to come in. You don't have to worry about things around you in a small room like a bathroom. That feeling of safety eases your anxious feelings. Also, when you feel anxious, you often don't know what to do, but going to the toilet gives you a purpose. You know what to do, so you can focus on one thing and not think about other things. For me, peeing feels like letting toxic things out of my body. It makes me feel relieved in some way.
August 21st, 2019 3:33am
Anxiety triggers a flight-or-fight response, and part of the body's reaction to that is to shut down all unnecessary bodily functions. This includes digestion, libido, and ability to control certain nerves/reflexes, as your body goes into an anxiety-ridden survival mode. One might feel like they suddenly have to use the toilet frequently because your body is naturally responding to get rid of everything deemed "unnecessary" - including whatever might be in your bladder or bowels. Your body is preparing to fight or take flight, and in order to do this it attempts to eliminate everything that would not be necessary.
August 28th, 2019 4:19pm
the stress causes some hormones in your body to be released particularly noradrinaline and it is the main reason behind the feeling of going frequently to the wc. it is normal to feel that way and trying to fight it won't help. my panic attacks included intense bowel movement which embarrassed me to no end. i struggled with it for years. still do but it isn't as intense.
December 15th, 2019 3:58pm
It is because anxious feelings trigger fight or flight response in our bodies. When the fight or flight response is triggered, stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) are released which cause that organs and tissues in the body work differently: heart beats faster, blood sugar level increases, digestive tract works faster, more water is spent in the body, there are consequently also more wasstes which are excreted via the kidneys, which all cause that we need to go to toilet more frequently. It in turn also cause that we drink more water which needs to be substituted as more water is lost due to it.
January 8th, 2020 10:51am
I used to do so because I always felt that toilets are a safe place where I can be by my own and focus on my thoughts and my feelings with no one around me. It calms me down so I don't have to deal with the reactions of people around me when I don't feel okay, and them asking me what's going on and why am I acting bizarre or whatever. Also literally I think stress makes our bodies work faster and give us the feeling that we need to go to toilets more often than we usually do !
February 29th, 2020 7:58pm
Anxiety isn't good for you, and it often puts pressure on specific areas of your body--including your bladder, and abdomen. According to sources, the bladder is closely connected to the body's fear system (fight-or-flight response). On top of all that, some experts claim that anxiety sends our kidneys into overdrive which can then cause them to produce more urine then usual. Peeing is the body's way of releasing toxins--flushing out the bad stuff that shouldn't be in our body. Maybe (don't quote me on this) this is why you find yourself going to the bathroom more--especially when you are really anxious. Please do go see your doctor to make sure there is nothing medically wrong.
March 1st, 2020 7:52pm
I'm not a doctor or anything but this is just what I'm learned. In short, the your body's fear system (flight or fight response) is connected to your bladder (where urine is collected). When you are anxious, there is pressure put on the bladder that causes you to feel like you need to go use the toilet. Anxiety can also cause digestive problems and such so that could also be part of the problem. When you are anxious, you tend to want to be alone and have a minute to yourself. Bathrooms could be connected to this because you feel safe there. There's probably a bunch more reasons why but this is what I've found.
March 21st, 2020 12:58am
People experience anxiety a lot of different ways and this is a common one! A lot of people will experience this or nausea. I know it can be uncomfortable and your doctor also may be able to help you if medicine is needed or even tips to prevent anxiety. Some tips I like to use to calm my anxiety are breathing exercises or meditation. Practicing these regularly may help reduce those symptoms. It's important to remember that this is a result of the anxiety, so working on the anxiety itself can prevent this from happening frequently. I hope this was helpful :)
March 25th, 2020 4:03pm
I have had that, so, i feel that way when I am very anxious, my muscles just let go all, they are not so strong anymore, so I feel my body can not do all at once, and it is simply to much tension. I think it is a logic feeling for my body to let go everything when I fear deeply. It will focus on the fear. Are you very anxious sometimes? What is it about? Do you feel anxious about the same things and frequently? Or very rare? Do you have to go to the toilet more often because of fear?
April 24th, 2020 3:27pm
Anxious feelings create the need to go to the toilet. It is very common with a lot of people. When we are nervous or excited we tend to sensations inside our stomach. From where everything usually starts as it is the center of our body. Due to the anxious feelings, we feel pressurized which creates pressure in our stomach too due to excess stress or excitement which we take out by going to the washroom which is completely normal for a human body to do. So there is nothing to worry about if you are under stress or feeling anxious and you need to go to the toilet
May 6th, 2020 9:34am
That's something that not everybody experiences, but some people do. It's an instinctive reaction of your body. When you're anxious it's because you feel there's a threat, something that put you in danger, so your body, as a reaction to the danger, gets ready to flee or fight. In this "preparation" it does everything it can do focus your energy o your muscles, and also make you lighter, so that's why you feel the need to go to the toilet. It's also the reason people sometimes throw up when they're nervous. Digestion takes a lot of energy, so to be ready to face the danger. Nowadays, in most cases, this reaction does not make sense, but just imagine you were fighting a bear and then you get why we developed this. Hope I was helpful.
June 10th, 2020 12:29pm
That could be a stress reaction on the body and particularly for the blader, soon we use the toilet the stress or anxious feeling is disappeared. That is a reaction when a body tries to protect themself fro damage other cells or organs. Similar situations are when body is sick or has the fever over the normal point, in that place the organism tries to cooling down or start sweat to back for safe zone. This process in the body is normal but alarmed us that is something wrong with the organism by signalizing with a particular behaviour. I hope that is helpful.
June 11th, 2020 10:30am
Anxiety places stress on your body, this includes your digestive system, your brain, your bladder, etc. So when you are feeling worried you you might feel the need to go more often then normally and this is completely normal! If anything you can always check in with your doctor to make sure everything is in check. Remember everything is connected so feeling uneasy in the stomach can also result from being anxious but it's not need to worry over, it's as ai said completely normal to feel like this! Taking some time out and addressing what's causing the anxiety might help stop this or control this!
June 17th, 2020 7:02am
When we feel anxious we have the urge to use the restroom so much as a body to cope with the emotion that we are feeling. This allows us to remove ourselves from the place that we got a response from and take a step back. It's a fight or flight mode that we have as people that we do. It's not the most helpful thing but if you can get your mind off of what is making you anxious to can be helfpul as well. For example when I was feeling this way I would listen to music to help with how I was feeling.
June 17th, 2020 5:02pm
Anxiety is an evolutionary response to dangerous situations. Way back when, when humans were living in the wild, things were a lot more dangerous! One way our body worked to keep us safe if, say, a dangerous animal was near, was to activate a fight-or-flight response in our brain and body to get us ready to face danger. Our hearts beat faster, our eyes take in more light, our bodies fill with adrenaline, and our excretory systems can be stimulated by hormones...leading to us having to pee or poop. Of course, we're likely not facing lions or tigers or bears much these days, but our body still responds to anxiety with the same full-body reaction. Uncomfortable, definitely, but perfectly normal!
July 15th, 2020 2:49am
Hello;) To answer your question scientifically, anxious feelings usually increase heart beat rate and blood pressure. This squeezes out more water from your blood at the kidneys to create more urine. That's why you need to go to the WC more frequently when you are anxious about something. Our body does this because they want to lower the blood pressure to help protect your internal organs and blood vessels. This is quite common and is a perfectly healthy phenomenon so don't worry too much about it. Please consult your doctor if you experience pain or you have other symptoms that cannot explained. I hope this answer helps.
August 2nd, 2020 9:41am
Stress and anxiety closely affect our digestive system and may also lead to gastro-intestinal issues, among other things. Increased levels of stress and anxiety may lead to imbalance of 'good' bacteria and 'bad' bacteria in our intestines, which are essential to break down food during digestion. This can cause issues such as stomach ache, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea or even nausea. It can also lead to increase in stomach acids, causing heart burn and indigestion. Additionally, anxiety also stresses our muscles, mainly those in our gut region, which may exert extra pressure on the bladder and even on the intestines, hence the need to go to the toilet frequently.
August 28th, 2020 10:33pm
I believe that there is a physiological reason behind this. When we are stressed or anxious, there is a very complicated physiological process (that I won't go into because I don't want this to be a massive response), that leads to the adrenal glands releasing cortisol into the bloodstream. The effect of cortisol on the body is the fight or flight response, which is what we feel when we're anxious. During this response, blood flow is redirected towards the muscles and the heart, and away from all "unnecessary organs" (the GI tract especially). This next part is a hypothesis, but when we shut down blood flow to these organs, the smooth muscles will contract less and lead to an easier release of fluids (i.e you need to pee more). Not quite sure if there's an actual verified explanation , but this was just my line of thought!
October 15th, 2020 2:46pm
I can’t say with certainty as I am not a trained/educated professional in any related field, but my guess is that it has to do with it being a natural physiological response. Anxiety is linked to our “Fight or Flight” response, but for the life of me, I can’t imagine the modern day value of releasing urine in the face of danger (building anxiety). Even if imagining a caveman confronted by a saber-toothed cat, not sure the value, unless an empty bladder increases or optimizes one’s ability to get physical, fighting off the threat or evading it. Hope this helps.
December 13th, 2020 4:01pm
Bing someone that has very recently dealt with anxiety. i know how you feel, i even went as far to look it up because i was stressing even more thinking that i was sick. From what i understand the stomach and brain has this connection, where one can quickly affect the other. So the brain sends signals to parts of the body which is a reason why you feel the need to go to the bathroom. Because that anxious feeling goes to your stomach ut once you figure out how to calm down and find that peace you need it will go away.
December 19th, 2020 3:13pm
I am not a Dr. but I think for me its that my body absorbs nutrients different, so it gives me the poops and most times I throw up with it at the same time. I think it is just you muscles overworking. Maybe kind of like a snake does, when in danger and needs to get away. There is usually not much I can do about it, I just go though the motions. And allow at least an extra 60-90 min to get ready, when I know "its coming". Oh yeah, and I take a sick bag with me. But like I said, I'm not a doctor.
December 26th, 2020 2:27pm
Anxiety symptoms can be shown in a multitude of ways and one common symptom is frequent trips to the toilet. As anxiety is caused by worrying thoughts, your body is finding ways to try to avoid the problem and it detects that the trips to the toilet. The frequent trips to the toilet might also be caused by the association by the feeling of calmness and peaceful and the closed doors of the toilet as that allows no interaction with anyone else. This can also be proved as one of the ways people cope with anxiety is leaving situations when anxiety begins to occur and your body chooses the toilet to run away to.
January 27th, 2021 8:25pm
There's a clear link between our gut and our mental health that can be observed in the relationship between stomach upset and anxiety. When your body enters the fight-or-flight response, it releases the stress hormone cortisol. This stimulates peristalsis -- the contractions in the gut that help move food along. The result is that food moves more quickly through your digestive system when you are anxious or stressed. For this reason, it's common to experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting with anxiety. You are also more likely to have the condition Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) if you also have an anxiety disorder.
February 3rd, 2021 5:37pm
Our fight or flight response steps into action when you become anxious or stressed, which results in us having to pee more frequently. Your body is responding to the anxiousness by filling up your bladder at a faster pace. Normally when you are more relaxed your bladder will take longer to fill up. The stress hormones that are being released when you are anxious can make your body overcompensate in different areas. It is important to try and calm your nerves and alleviate stress through healthy coping mechanisms. You can also get diarrhea when you are anxious because of the high levels of serotonin that may cause your stomach to cramp up or have spasms.
February 18th, 2021 11:30am
Anxiety is the result of arousal of the nervous system, namely the sympathetic nervous system. This governs the fight-or-flight (or freeze) response where cortisol and adrenaline is released. In order for our ancestors to have an evolutionary advantage, it was beneficial to expel their bowels and bladder to have (presumably) less weight. Good for our ancestors, at least enough so that their offspring continued to experience this phenomenon. Fast forward to present day when it is no longer reasonable to walk around naked and there are no sabertooth tigers to fight off, we are left with a not-so-great impulse to pee or poop when we become excessively nervous. Fortunately with some effort, it is possible to mindfully pacify the sympathetic nervous system with meditation, deep breathing, or proper rest so that the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, where bodily processes slow down and the body can heal itself.