We have all have that feeling of knot in our stomach when we are stressed out, or feeling anxious. But is there more to it than just a knot feeling? Can stress and stressful lifestyle affect out digestion? Keeping in mind that there is a very close relationship between the gut and the brain, stress and anxiety can affect digestion in many different ways…….this all depends on the stress level. Today, we will go over two main effects stress can have on our digestion.
We know that when we are experiencing stress, our body goes in the so called “fight-or-flight” state. Depending on how severe the “threat” is, our digestive system might either:
- slow down – when this happens obviously the food is digested at a much slower rate
- completely shut down – this is obviously in really severe situations, but still the fact remains that the food in your gut is not being digested and processed
Both of these scenarios might lead to one of the two extremes:
- constipation, and in turn that might lead to number of problems, such as:
- stomach pain
- weight gain
- or the other extreme that results in the food moving too quickly through your system. This in turn leads to your body not being able to absorb all the vitamins, minerals etc, resulting in deficiency
A lot of us don’t realise that the digestive system is the biggest immune organ in our body. What we also don’t realise is that there are number of different types of bacteria in our gut – some are good and some are not so (more on this topic in the weeks to come). The good ones help with digestion, fighting viruses, keeping our immune system strong, and keeping a healthy balance in our body. When we are stressed due to the different hormones being realised in the body, the bad bacteria take over. Over time, this leads to inflammations in the body, and overall weaker immune system.
But the good news is, that like with almost anything else there are number of things you can do about all these!
- reduce stress – there are number of ways to reduce stress
- reduce sugar and process food – in order to clear the gut from the bad bacteria, it is essential to avoid added sugar…….sugar feeds the bad bacteria. For more info on how to avoid sugar click here
- seek professional help – if you see that you can’t help yourself alone, then talk to professional and take the necessary steps
I personally think that the best thing to do is to listen to your body at all times. Be aware of the signals your body is sending you, and also be more aware of your lifestyle and how it affects your body…..and adjust accordingly. Be aware at all times, and don’t wait too long!
Photo by © rangizzz / Fotolia.com
Great post! Didn’t know that the digestion system could totally stop…that’s so interesting. Thanks for the tips, too. Very helpful!
I am glad you find the info helpful Ali:)
So true, so very true. Meditation helps a lot with stress, but honestly diet is HUGE for me for the digestion issues.
Thanks for sharing Leah…..I couldn’t agree more!
Yes yes YES I needed to read this blog!!!! I have learned I am a stress eater and it is an endless cycle!!! This is great information!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!
Glad to hear you found some value in the information Laura!