The gut–brain connection refers to communication between the brain and gastrointestinal (GI) system. Disorders of gut–brain interaction (DGBI) are characterized by GI symptoms that accompany distress and disability. Epidemiological research has suggested DGBI rates in emerging adults are increasing. This study investigated the relationship between GI health, distress, and disability in emerging adults across time. Emerging adults were recruited. A repeated-measure design with a 1-month time lag was used to collect data via an online survey (N = 861) across five academic semesters (Spring 2019 to Summer 2020). Measurement equivalence across time was established and a cross-lagged panel model (CLPM) was specified. Distress at Time 1 predicted GI symptoms at Time 2 (β = .206, SE = .084, p < .05). GI symptoms at Time 1 predicted disability at Time 2 (β = .117, SE = .039, p < .01). Higher disability at Time 1 predicted distress at Time 2 (β = .092, SE = .027, p < .01). The cross-lagged design offers stronger causal inferences than cross-sectional studies used to study the effects of GI symptoms. Findings provide initial evidence of a directional pathway between brain and gut rather than a bidirectional network. Findings highlight the importance of psychogastroenterology.