Research has already linked high levels of stress to autoimmune diseases, heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, and countless other chronic diseases. However, even knowing this research, doctors and patients alike still tend to focus more on the physical causes of illness rather than the physical and mental stressors, which often affect health. Keep reading this excellent article because you will find out how stress can be causing you big intestinal problems.
Stress is increasingly a primary cause of autoimmune diseases and others that are also chronic, and unfortunately, not only in adults. More and more children suffer from stress-related health problems as well. That is why, to prevent and reverse inflammatory diseases, cure infections and relieve stress, it is paramount.
There are several factors that cause stress that negatively affect your health. Stress can trigger or worsen an autoimmune disease, for example, due to its effect on the immune system. But chronic stress can also damage your intestines, which, as you must be aware, is the gateway to health, opening the door to a whole host of problems.
In this article, we're going to take a look at how stress affects your gut , and we'll share some stress relief practices.
Bowel problems can result from a lot of stress
The gut is the gateway to health, and a damaged gut can affect other areas of your health, including your brain. But the brain and digestive system actually share a two-way connection, so not only does a healthy gut affect your mental state, but your mental state affects how your gut works. Let's take a look at how this connection works.
Your body's response to stress
When you experience any type of stress, be it physical, emotional (going through anguish) or mental (overloaded by work), your body processes it through the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands respond by creating a flood of stress hormones, including cortisol, which affect both your digestive system and your immune system (80% of which are found in the gut).
Our response to stress evolved primarily as a means of self-preservation for our ancestors who faced immediate life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, that answer is not ideal for the kind of chronic and ongoing stress we face today.
The problem with chronic stress
On the one hand, the cortisol that the adrenal glands produce increases the work of your immune system and is highly inflammatory. This makes sense if you have an open wound and need to use inflammation to fight infection, it is less helpful, and even harmful, if you are chronically stressed, because you are working 80 hours a week. Maintaining a high level of inflammation is dangerous, because it puts you on the autoimmune spectrum and, if it continues over time, you can trigger an autoimmune disease.
Your body recognizes this, so it actually suppresses your immune system after a cortisol spike, leaving it anywhere from 40% - 70% below baseline, to balance the initial flare-up of inflammation.
When you experience acute stress such as an animal attack or the flu, your body's natural short-term inflammatory response is exactly what you want to temporarily boost your immune system and give you energy to function and immune cells to fight the flu. However, in today's world, we are all experiencing more long-term and chronic stress, such as always being available on our smart devices, working long hours, and being more engaged.
We are not shutting down and disconnecting, giving our bodies a chance to rest and recover. As a result, your body is continually in cycles of high inflammation, which can damage the intestinal lining, and a suppressed immune system, which leaves your gut vulnerable to pathogens you might be ingesting.
Also, when your stress response kicks in, your digestive system shuts down. If you are running from a predator, you need concentrated blood flow in your limbs to flee and your brain for problem solving, not your gut to digest its lunch.
Why chronic stress causes intestinal problems
In this vulnerable state when the digestive system is suppressed or shuts down, and your immune system is suppressed, harmful bacteria are capable of multiplying uncontrollably. The digestive system is temporarily unable to fight off bad bacteria by producing enough good bacteria to fight them, which can lead to imbalances in your gut flora such as Candida overgrowth.
What's more, a shortage of good bacteria and an excess of yeast or bad bacteria can cause you to experience more stress because 95% of your serotonin (the "feel good" neurotransmitter that regulates mood, well-being and sleep) occurs in the gut, and this production slows down when you're fighting yeast overgrowth, parasites, or other gut problems.
How to combat stress and maintain a healthy gut
In today's society, full of endless demands and the nagging feeling that you could always be doing more, it can be difficult to avoid stress. The key to keeping stress manageable and preventing it from causing negative health effects such as intestinal problems is learning the tools to leave a stressful situation behind after it is over.
There is no better way to relax and relieve stress. Everyone handles their stress differently, so don't stress yourself out trying to stick to the perfect stress-free routine. The important thing is to find what works for you personally, whether it's doing yoga, going for a run, spending time with your family, spending time alone, gardening, going to church, or any other activity.
Tips for managing stress
Sensory Isolation Tank or Float Pool - Float pools provide a light, sound-free environment, with a shallow pool of water containing dissolved epsom salts. The high concentration of epsom salt allows you to float effortlessly, and the temperature is the same as your skin, so you can't even feel the water around you. The effect is a completely dark, silent, and weightless float that lowers your cortisol levels, relieves muscle aches and allows you to go 60-90 minutes free of any stimulation at all.
Infrared Sauna Therapy - Spending time in an infrared sauna has many health benefits, including stress relief and detoxification.
Going for a walk - spending time in nature with your family or friends, it can be relaxing and restorative, it is scientifically proven, so try to schedule a walk of at least 15 minutes a day in a place where it causes a good feeling and not there is contamination. The intestinal or digestive problems, heal in a great way practicing this activity in a continuous way.
Take a relaxing bath with homemade bath salts - Hot baths at night are soothing. For a little more pampering and relaxation for your body, make your own lavender bath salts, Epsom salt is perfect for stiff muscles, and the calming scent of lavender will take the stress out of your day.
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