Stress is becoming one of the conditions that is causing the most difficulties in people. Because stress is a reaction of our body to various adverse situations. When we are under stress, blood pressure can increase and blood can travel with greater intensity from the stomach to the arms, legs, head and cause other reactions, preparing us to be alert, but this unfavorable condition when it becomes chronic, can affect our digestive health and cause a host of digestive disorders. Now, why can stress cause digestive problems?

Many people suffer from digestive disorders and claim that they are not nervous. But stress is not a matter of nerves, rather it has a lot to do with various internal tensions or emotional problems that unbalance the body.

Effects of stress and the digestive system

Stress is largely responsible for a series of damaging events in your gut. Some refer to it as intestinal stress . We can mention some of its effects:

  • Causes decreased absorption of nutrients
  • Produces a decrease in the oxygenation of your intestine
  • Causes four times less blood flow in the digestive system, causing decreased metabolism
  • Decreased enzyme production in the intestine
  • Alterations in gastrointestinal motility
  • Increased visceral perception
  • Changes in gastrointestinal secretion
  • Negative effects on the regenerative capacity of the gastrointestinal mucosa and mucosal blood flow

Symptoms of the effect of stress on the digestive system

It is no secret that we are all exposed to stress. Even so, it is possible to identify the indications that indicate that it is affecting us in our daily lives and representing problems for our health. Some are as follows:

  • Muscle stiffness or tension, especially in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Anxiety
  • Recent loss of interest in sex
  • Changes in alcohol or food consumption
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Increased desire to be with someone or even the opposite, to get away from someone
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Overwhelming feeling of tension or pressure
  • Low concentration
  • Loss of sense of humor
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Indecision

Still, the list can be a bit longer. These are summarized in three broad features, such as: physical symptoms, behavioral symptoms and emotional symptoms.

How to reduce stress and improve intestinal health?

There are many options we have if we want to reduce the risks that excessive stress represents to our health.

  • Exercise is very helpful in easing and clearing the mind.
  • Use other common tools that result in success, such as: progressive relaxation, meditation, laughter and yoga, among other similar alternatives.
  • Apply relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and positive vision. This will allow you to make the neurological changes that are needed.

Favorable habits to combat stress

  • Avoid sugar / fructose: Consuming excessive sugar and fructose creates a distortion in the relationship between good and bad bacteria in your gut.
  • Eat fermented foods: These foods made in a traditional way and unpasteurized, are rich in probiotics (live microorganisms that influence the intestine for good).
  • Take a probiotic supplement: If it is not your taste to eat fermented foods, the recommendation is to take a good quality probiotic supplement.
  • When sleeping, do it in complete darkness: this measure when sleeping, allows the proper production of the hormone melatonin. And this acts as an important mediator of the brain-intestine axis, and has contributed greatly as a protector against stress caused by injuries to the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages and tobacco. They cause serious and irreversible damage.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. It helps to stay relaxed and at the same time strengthens the digestive system .

How to know if digestive problems are caused by stress

An easy way to find out is by evaluating some situations. If you frequently have work, family, economic, or relationship problems and it is not easy for you to solve them, you may be experiencing stress; And if you have abdominal pain, heartburn, inflammation, then you are experiencing digestive problems due to anxiety .

Take care of stress and control digestive problems

We have many reasons to guard against stress. Of course, the first thing is to recognize that it can affect us all. Therefore, knowing why stress can cause digestive problems, do not neglect to prevent its effects.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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