Stress and How it Affects Your Gut

Everyone knows how bad excessive amounts of stress can be for you in general. It can also cause serious gut health issues that you may not know about. Here are some things to know about how stress can be related to your gut health.

How Stress is Linked to Gut Health

When you experience a lot of stress, your brain enters its survival mode, which affects how much blood goes to your gut. Over time, long periods of reduced blood flow can lead to the good bacteria in your gut being weakened or damaged. This enables bad bacteria to multiply in this region of your body. The result of this is the weakening of your intestinal lining, which makes you more susceptible to illness and nutrient deficiency.

Signs of a Stressed Gut

When your gut is compromised due to stress, it manifests itself in a variety of ways. Symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, constant upset stomach, diarrhea, lethargy and an increase in cardiovascular issues. Stress can also lead to esophageal spasms, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. Constipation is also a major issue for people with lots of stress. Contrary to popular belief, stress does not cause gastric ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease. It can, however, aggravate them since your stomach or intestines can’t develop the lining that they need.

What You Can do About it

Now that you know whether or not your gut health is leading to your level of stress, it is time to figure out what you can do about it. The key here is to not only help improve your gut health, but your current stress level as well.

To start with, improve your stress by finding ways to relax and unwind. This might be as simple as taking a hot bath in the evenings, using relaxing essential oils like lavender and chamomile, or just practicing self-care more often.

For your gut, start with your current diet. Remove fatty and processed foods from your diet, then add in healthier options like healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. You also want more fermented foods in your diet, which provide excellent probiotics. For more probiotics, you can also take a supplement each day.

Talk to your doctor if you feel that you need a little more assistance with your gut health or your stress is severely affecting your quality of life.

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