Published online Oct 21, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14126
Revised: June 3, 2014
Accepted: July 22, 2014
Published online: October 21, 2014
Core tip: Evidence from both clinical and experimental studies showed that psychological stress, acute or chronic, occurring in early life or adulthood, has marked impact on intestinal sensitivity, motility, secretion and permeability, and the underlying mechanism has a close correlation with mucosal immune activation, alteration in central nervous system, peripheral neurons and gastrointestinal microbiota. This review provides an overview about how psychological stress contributes to the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and aggravation of IBS symptoms, and informs a more comprehensive approach to the management of IBS.