I can say over all the years of being a therapist anxiety affects digestion for many of my clients.
Ever wonder why when you’re super overwhelmed or anxious you can lose appetite or experience IBS symptoms? Stress can make pain, bloating, or discomfort felt more easily in the bowels. When we struggle with anxiety or periods of high stress, our body responds by releasing cortisol to make us awake and vigilant. We either eliminate our bowels quickly or hold on to them.
When we live our days in fight or flight, these symptoms, left untreated can develop into more severe GI disorders that need a specialist and a longer road to recovery.
5 Ways Stress Impacts Digestive Health:
Causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation
Decreases stomach acid, resulting in indigestion
Can lead to a weakened immune system and inflammation
Causes pain, bloating, heartburn, and other discomforts
May result in GI disorders (IBS, IBD, GERD, etc)
As uncomfortable as this can be, I also find that individuals can become accustomed to this discomfort and take it has “part of life”. I want to remind you that these symptoms are important to listen to and can provide a lot of information on what’s needed. You don’t have to accept this as normal for you.
That’s why having a knowledge of the different stages of your nervous system + some simple tools to ground yourself after experiencing stress in the day is key to staying overall healthy. Chronic stress or anxiety leads to our nervous system being activated over and over again – which takes a tremendous toll on the body.