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Studying the Link between Psychological and Digestive Health

Psychological and digestive health are two interconnected aspects of overall well-being. The link between the two is complex, and research is still ongoing.

However, it is increasingly recognised that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can significantly impact digestive health. In this article, we will explore the links between psychological and digestive health and the impact of stress on the digestive system.

Psychological and Digestive Health

The human body is a complex system where different organs and systems work together to maintain overall health. The digestive system is one such crucial system that plays a vital role in breaking down food and extracting nutrients necessary for the body's growth and functioning. However, research suggests that the digestive system is not just a mechanical process but is also influenced by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

The link between psychological and digestive health is often called the 'gut-brain axis.' The gut-brain axis is a communication network that connects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) with the enteric nervous system (the gastrointestinal tract). This communication network enables the brain and the gut to communicate and regulate each other's activities.

Studies have shown that the gut-brain axis is vital in regulating various bodily functions such as digestion, immune function, and mood. In fact, research suggests that about 90% of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut. Therefore, maintaining good gut health is essential for overall well-being, and psychological factors can significantly impact it.

The Impact of Stress on the Digestive System

Stress is a common psychological factor that can negatively impact digestive health. When a person experiences stress, the body's fight or flight response is activated, which triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can cause various physical reactions, including increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and increased blood pressure.

In the short term, the fight or flight response can help the body respond to stressful situations. However, chronic stress can lead to the overproduction of stress hormones, which can negatively impact the digestive system and cause any of the following:

1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - IBS is a common digestive disorder that causes abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhoea.

2. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - This refers to a group of chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the digestive tract. Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of IBD and increase the risk of flare-ups.

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - GERD is a digestive disorder that causes acid reflux and heartburn. Stress can increase the production of stomach acid, which can worsen GERD symptoms.

4. Peptic ulcer disease - Peptic ulcer disease is a condition that causes sores in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. Stress can increase the production of stomach acid, which can worsen peptic ulcer symptoms.

Conclusion

In conclusion, psychological and digestive health are two interconnected aspects of overall well-being. The gut-brain axis is vital in regulating various bodily functions, including digestion and mood. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can significantly impact gut health. Therefore, it is essential to maintain good digestive health through a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and seeking medical help when necessary.

Take care of your gut health with the help of Optimum Body Therapy. We can help improve your well-being through massage therapy, reiki energy healing, and energy kinesiology. Contact us today for more information.

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