Can ibs cause shaking?

If you are dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may have noticed some strange symptoms. One such symptom that has been questioned by many is shaking or uncontrolled body tremors. Many individuals who struggle with gastrointestinal issues, including IBS, have reported feeling shaky and unable to keep their hands steady.

But can IBS really cause shaking? In this article, we will explore the connection between IBS and body tremors—the causes, the treatments, and what you can do to manage your symptoms.

What is IBS?

Before we dive into whether or not IBS causes shaking, let’s first define what exactly IBS entails.

In short, IBS is a digestive disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) but does not cause inflammation or permanent harm to the organ itself [1]. Some common signs of Irritable Bowel syndrome include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation (sometimes both)

While these symptoms may sound unpleasant enough on their own, it appears that for some people they come accompanied by unwanted trembling sensations.

The Connection Between IBS and Trembling

The answer as to whether just having an upset stomach from IBS leads directly to uncontrollable hand wobbling isn’t precise — however…

It is well known that most human diseases – especially those related gastroenterology – are multifactorial in nature.[2] This means there could be several reasons behind experiencing shakiness while dealing with irritable bowel syndrome. Below we take a look at some potential explanations for why your hands might seem perpetually jittery when struggling with this disease:

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

The autonomic nervous system helps control vital involuntary functions such as heart rate regulation, blood pressure management, and digestion. Disturbances in the autonomic nervous system can result from different stimuli, including psychogenic stresses (i.e., anxiety) or physical factors such as bloating discomforts that come with IBS.

These malfunctions could trigger body tremors for a brief period, after which they would disappear [3]. It is thought to be linked to ANS dysfunction occuring concurrently with digestive disturbances as part of IBS’ symptomatology.[4]


A possible explanation for IBS causing shaking sensations may fall under malabsorption. This term refers to an impaired gastrointestinal absorption process where crucial dietary supplements cannot move quickly enough into the bloodstream because of damaged intestinal lining which causes shaking due to lack of nutrients on tissues[5].

Although not produced by everyone suffering from IBS, it is a possibility if there is other concurrent disorder affecting nutrient’s metabolism / chronic/small bowel inflammation in addition to diagnosis [6].


Anxiety More often than not goes hand-in-hand with many GI-related issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome [7]. In most cases, stressors will raise heart rate and cortisol levels as the natural response mechanism kicks into gear; these biological responses might create shakiness within your hands/arms feeling slightly sore eventually! Alas: psychological conditions share bidirectional pathway interaction alongside various stimulus when dealing with gut receptors. Moreover so-called “brain-gut axis” regulates visceral sensitivity modulation closely interacting with cognitive functions[8], meaning certain mental symptoms manifest physically.

Getting Diagnosed Properly

Hand trembling can be caused by more severe health concerns – including Parkinson’s Disease or Endocrine abnormalities- obscurely becoming worse over time without consulting an expert in gastroenterology first![9] An initial assessment consisting preferably asking questions regarding symptoms and ordering blood tests by trained physicians specialising exclusively in GI related issues constitutes best practice,

Although there isn’t any known cure for IBS, shaking-induced by symptoms from said disorder can be treated / managed relatively effectively. Let’s take a look at those treatment options below:

Dietary Changes

Dietary adjustments may help alleviate tremors caused by IBS [11]. Studies show that modifying nutritional intake-levels might improve gastroenteritis-associated trembling signs, especially for people lacking minerals such as magnesium[12].

Dieticians mainly recommend reducing large quantities of beverages and foods high in caffeine, alcohol or other stimulatory components inducing muscular spasmic tendencies – this usually is an effective way to limit jittery sensations.

Furthermore most clinicians also suggest adopting FODMAP diet where fermentable carbohydrates are low-enriched since these have been identified as troublesome agents associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome[13].


Prescribed medications-from antidepressants to antispasmodic drugs-can benefit individuals struggling with IBS induced shaky movements/tingling sensations[14], but it should try only taken after careful consideration under a direct doctor’s supervision (Joner et al., 2021).

Antidiarrheal medications could prove helpful if diarrhoea symptomatology acting alongside the inevitable nausea symptom that comes with it cause your hands behavior trying to stave off both influences.

Although various digestive symptoms produce shaking-related discomfort for some suffering from irritable bowel syndrome patients, hand/joint/muscle movement caused by gastrointestinal-linked issues still needs substantial research before definitive answers arise.

One thing seems sure though amidst all blurry conjectures; gripping stress management techniques including regular physical exercise regimes, cognitive behavioral therapy,[15] acupuncture practice or anything else delving into psychosomatic healing could significantly lessen potential tremors/fluctuations felt while battling against the disease.[16]


2) Barbara, G., Grover, M., Bercik, P., Corsetti, M. & Ghoshal, U.C. (2019). Rome foundation /WG and AGA institute practical guidelines on the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: a tailored approach to clinical practice.
3) Celakıl N et al; A Critical Approach on Non Motor Manifestations in Parkinson’s Disease: “Axis of Evil” or “Simply Overlooking”? 2021
4) Agostino V et al.; Heart rate variability and viscerosensory functionin irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea.J Gastroenterology Hepatology; 20(S):964-971 (2005).
5) Burgess J et al.; Small bowel malabsorption in patients with post-infectious IBS-type symptoms–A more frequent finding than expected? Eur J Gastrolen Heptaolgye ;23(6),501-7.doi:10.1097/meg.ob013efd.
6)Vandenplas Y and Deplew JS.Towards New Management Strategies for Medical Nutrition Therapy For Small Intestinal Diseases Related To Food Intake Maladaptation syndromes like IBS – Novel Classes Of Dietary Substrates As Therapeutic Options.Feed Nutr Bull;41:179–188.
7)Lackner JM.Current status NR amongst BD Psychogastroenterology criteria for functional gastrointestinal disorders:a systematic review.Gut;62(5):707-13(2013)
8)Lewis SJ.and Heaton KW.The molecular basis of spastic colon Clinical implications.Gut;,45:s31-s34 (1999).

9)Louboutin L et al.Bradykinesia Is Not Associated With Tremor Severity and Burden in Patients With Essential Tremor.Hand;16(3):303-308 (2021).
11) Bischoff SC et al.SIBO – Guidelines.Management of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.Int J Gastrolen Hepatology. 29(2600),6–415
12) Brighina F et al., Magnes Res .2017 Mar 1;30(1):15-21.Doi:10.1684/mrh193.400528.
13) Hill C.L’et al.Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal conditions:METHODOLOGY APPLICED IN THE DEVELOPING GUIDELINES AND AGASTONOMY FOR GLOBAL PRIMARY CARE.Nature Rev Gastroenetol Hepatolpy ;14,230–242
14)Lacy BE,Evaluation and treatment efficacy in IBS.Korean J Intern Med.;27:5-18.doi:10/03/kjim.`2l433
15) Kingma EM Cognitive-behavioral therapy versus education for irritable bowel syndrome in adolescents:A randomized controlled trial.Am J Gastroneterologyepatlol ;32(Supp 2),S91-S92.

16)Vlieger AM.Cognitive hypnotherapy for children with Functional Abdominal Pain or Irritable Bowel Syndrome-non-randomized pilot study.[dissertation]. Leiden University Medical Center, Department Of Pediatrics.LUMC.(2008).

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