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What Happens On The Toilet May Have Mental Health Effects, Study Finds

As scientists are learning more and more every day, our bodies are connected in ways that aren't always so obvious. In many cases, these connections don't even feel like they should make sense.

Nonetheless, it turns out that our stressful lives are indeed accelerating the process that turns our hair gray and it also turns out that you seriously don't want a gum disease called periodontitis. Not if you value your heart and lungs, anyway.

But perhaps the most peculiar connection is the one that can exist between our gut health and our mental health. It sounds strange, but studies confirm in likely awkward ways that it's real.

To get to the bottom of how common digestive issues relate to common mental heath conditions, a research team from Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center put out a bowel health questionnaire.

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As they published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, they used previously existing national health and nutrition data to identify 495 adults with depression and 4,709 adults with no such diagnosis.

These participants were then given the survey.

This study is just the latest in a line of researching exploring the link between digestive health and mental health.

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As biochemist Dr Gill Hart of YorkTest Laboratories told The Daily Mirror, "The gut is home to hundreds of trillions of microorganisms which form part of the gut-microbiome-brain-axis.

"Mood states have been linked with the composition of the microbiome in mentally and physically healthy adults. If your gut is unhappy, it’s likely to affect your overall wellbeing too, physically and mentally."

And once they controlled for clinical and demographic variables, the team from Boston's findings seemed to confirm this in a strangely specific way.

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As the study's lead author, Sarah Ballou explained, chronic diarrhea was "significantly more prevalent" in those with depression than in those without it.

Although this was also true when it came to chronic constipation, it was true to a lesser extent.

The research team also tackled the issue from the other direction and checked what they called the "mean depression scores" for all participants involved.

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And what they found seemed to agree with their other data, as those with chronic diarrhea and chronic constipation were found to have higher mean depression scores than those whose bowel movements were healthy and regular.

However, although depression was found to be more common in both digestive conditions, they varied in severity.

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They found that moderate and severe depression were more significantly associated with chronic diarrhea, while milder forms of depression were more significantly associated with chronic constipation.

h/t: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

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