For many years I wished someone had explained about how stress affects your digestion. I had a lot of stomach pain and IBS due to stress since I was a mom of two boys, one with autism and a homeschooler.
I never made the connection between stress and my inability to digest food properly. I mean who really thinks about that!?
As a result, I was tired most of the time.
Here is what you need to know about stress and the digestion connection.
I remember when my children were still in grade school and how much stress I was under with my large To-Do list as I was homeschooling at the time and being the taxi driver to extra curricular activities!
It was during that time that my health was taking a nose-dive and the food I use to be able to eat was not being friendly to my body anymore.
It took me a long time to make a connection about the symptoms of stress and what was going on in my digestion.
I did not understand that eating when I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed was not good for me. I was only hurting myself by not resting first.
Do you feel the demand on your time trying to prepare the meals for everyone and by the time you sit down to eat, you feel you cannot enjoy what you just made?
This can happen to me a lot when my daily schedule is just too full and I do not take time to rest in between activities.
Having meals that stabilize your blood sugar so you feel energized, reduce food cravings and feel less stressed is the solution to a busy day.
3 Things You Need to Know About Stress!
“Fight or Flight”
Have you heard about the "fight or flight" response in your body? It comes from a physiological response to stress by your adrenal glands.
These tiny glands sit on top of your kidneys and release adrenaline when danger is detected. It is the first hormone that is released to trigger your increase in heart rate and release of the liver's stored glycogen into the bloodstream.
You can feel the rush as blood is redirected from your digestive system to your arms and legs so you can escape as if you are running from a bear!
The “fight or flight” response causes undesirable symptoms of stress including an increase in your heart rate and anxiety levels.
So watch how much time you spend consuming social media content and the news!
All this unused energy gets converted to fat. It is an unwanted side effect!
Some Causes of Stress
Stress comes in many forms such as:
- environmental toxins,
- processed foods,
- emotional stress
- and physical stress.
Some stress is normal for the body in short, occasional amounts but chronic stress is what leads to digestive and energy problems.
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), then you are probably under some form of stress.
I was in such discomfort many years ago that I thought I had an ulcer or colitis. All I knew was I was in pain and had a difficult time with constipation. I endured going through an endoscopy and and a colonoscopy only to find out there was "nothing wrong" that the doctor could see. Can you relate to this experience?
The “fight or flight” response causes undesirable symptoms of stress includes imbalanced gut flora and anxiety levels.
An unbalanced gut microbiome called dysbiosis is always present during IBS which is a result of being under some form of stress. Constipation and diarrhea or alternating between the two are the most common symptoms.
This is a common problems I see in many women. The other symptoms are low energy, gas and bloating. Not a comfortable way to live. I know you want better for yourself and you deserve it.
Symptoms of Stress
The lack of your body’s ability to efficiently digest, assimilate, and absorb your food is what causes gas, bloating, acid reflux, and even stomach pain.
When you are chronically stressed, excess cortisol will produce excess bile which is sent to the gallbladder and it becomes overloaded.
You will then have symptoms that feels like heartburn with a burning across the rib cage as the bile moves backwards from the small intestine into the stomach.
When cortisol remains high throughout the day the manifested symptoms of stress include:
- fatigue (especially around 3 pm)
- sleep disturbance (from intestinal/stomach pain, gas and bloating)
- anxiety (from an imbalance in gut flora)
- unexplained weight gain around the middle
- poor digestion (lack of sufficient stomach acid or poor combination of foods)
- poor immune function from an unbalanced digestive system (resulting in frequent flues and colds)
- brain fog (unbalanced digestive function from stress)
Just to name a few, these are all symptoms of stress. This is where I focus in my practice of holistic nutrition for women who are experiencing energy issues connected to digestive problems.
So do you relate to not feeling rested in the morning?
Fatigue throughout the day, especially around 3 pm?
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Stress during midlife
Your ability to adapt to stress decreases with age. Your adrenals will now have to make more cortisol and will steal from your progesterone supply in order to do so. This creates an imbalance of hormones in your body.
What do you do about the stress you experience every day? You may even feel that you will always feel tired and stressed.
This is why I created a program for my clients called the Freedom From Fatigue Solution.
By taking guided action, you can start overcoming fatigue and get your energy back on track.
If you would like to chat about your health goals, please give me a call by booking here.