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Chronic Stress Could Be The Reason Behind Your Digestive Issues: Expert Explains How

Stress is linked with several health issues. Uncontrolled stress can affect your digestion too. Read here to know how stress negatively affects your digestion and some tips to manage stress.

Chronic Stress Could Be The Reason Behind Your Digestive Issues: Expert Explains How

Chronic stress can lead to digestive issues

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Stress can lead to frequent headaches
  2. It can also affect your day to day activities
  3. Exercise regularly to beat stress

Do you experience digestive issues more often? Your diet and amount of physical activity throughout the day are two of the major factors that are responsible for digestive issues. You would be surprised to know that your stress levels too can disturb the digestion process. Not many consider stress as a serious condition. But if left untreated, stress can affect your health negatively in several ways. Too much stress can lead to frequent headaches, tense muscles, pain in chest, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, poor immunity, high blood pressure and much more. It also affects your appetite. You may eat too much when stressed. Uncontrolled stress is also associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

To understand the link between chronic stress and digestive issues, we spoke to Dr. Akshay Kumar from the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Science at Artemis Hospital.


Effect of stress on digestion

Dr. Kumar explains, "Stress causes changes in the digestive system of a human being. In the medical terminology, stress causes the activation of the Parasympathetic Nervous system, which causes the release of gastric acids and juices causing symptoms like acidity, constipation, loose stools, difficulty indigestion, loss of appetite, etc."

He further elaborates on various aspects of the digestive system that stress can affect. Here are some key points Dr. Kumar elaborates-

1. The gut and brain are interconnected via a system of nerves. Therefore, stress causes disruptions in your gut and digestive system. Stress harms our digestive system causing the reduced supply of blood to the stomach, an imbalance in gut bacteria, and others.

2. The impact of stress on our gut system depends on its severity and the duration of experiencing stress. Short-term stress leads to appetite loss and slow digestion whereas the long-term and chronic stress cause serious health problems like irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.

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You need to control stress to prevent digestive issues
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Stress also leads to an increased amount of acid in the stomach causing indigestion and heartburn. Since bacteria in the intestine are responsible to break down the food, therefore, an imbalance in their nature can create digestive problems.

Also read: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Hair Loss? Know Types And Ways To Hair Fall

4. In severe cases, these may further develop into gastrointestinal disorders. On the other hand, stress also causes weight gain. When the brain is stressed, it releases cortisol hormone which is responsible for stress-related food cravings along with abdominal fat gain and insulin.

5. Regular exercises, mindfulness meditation, and yoga have proved to be an effective antidote for such issues. Regular consultation with a doctor might also be beneficial to address the root cause of stress. Stress management and healthy eating are some of the keys to better digestion.

Also read: Too Stressed? These Habits Might Be Stressing You Out


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(Dr. Akshay Kumar- Attending Consultant, Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Science, Artemis Hospital)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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