Stress and Your Stomach

Nov-29-3-News-Hub-Images
Do you feel your stomach clench into a knot when the thought of your upcoming presentation enters your mind? Maybe you feel a little queasy when you think deeply about the familial obligations that coincide with the holiday season? Your mood, especially stress, can have a clear control on how you feel-especially in your stomach.

Stress is a double whammy for your GI tract. When you are stressed, your body releases two fight or flight hormones-cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones move all energy to your muscles (so you can fight or flee!), but in doing so, slow digestion. But in your 21st century hectic life, chronic stress can lead to constipation, ulcers, and chronic stomach aches. It can also start to eat away at the healthy bacteria in your gut, as it increases inflammation. Without healthy microflora in your gut, your body will not have regular bowel movements, and it can also have a negative impact on your immune function. No wonder your stomach is in knots!

Relieve your stress – your stomach will thank you!

  • Load your plate with anti-inflammatory foods: Stock up on fruits and veggies, as well as plant-based sources of Probiotics and omgega-3 fatty acids to stop inflammation in its tracks.
  • Write it down- Write down the thorn you are dealing with right now. Also write down one thing that is going well, or that you are happy/grateful/excited about.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. Taking on too much is a sure way to end up with a stomach ache. Don’t be afraid to prioritize, and say no to things you can’t manage.
  • Try a simple meditation. Sit in a quiet space, and tune into your breath. Try to focus just on your breath. With each breath in, breathe deeply into your stomach. With each breath out, release stress and frustration. Continue this for 15 minutes.

Resources:

Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Konturek SJ. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;62(6):591-9.

Lyte M, Vulchanova L, Brown DR. Stress at the intestinal surface: catecholamines and mucosa-bacteria interactions. Cell Tissue Res 2011; 343: 23-32

Rhee SH, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA. Principles and clinical implications of the brain-gut-enteric microbiota axis. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2009; 6: 306-314.

November 29, 2012