How stress affects the body and irritable bowel syndrome

Stress is a trigger for IBS, but it also causes many other problems. It can have a profound effect on your mental and physical health. Here are some facts that may surprise you.

Human beings deal with stress as part of daily life. Every change in routine that requires us to react creates a bit of stress. We respond with rooted responses. Some are inherited; others are learned.

Small doses of stress are beneficial; they keep us alert and ready to respond to life’s difficulties. In fact, the only people who don’t experience stress are dead. However, prolonged periods of stress can have a devastating effect on your health, with symptoms such as:

• Colon spasms in people with IBS
• Stomachache
• Altered digestive activity
• Headaches
• Sleep disorders
• High blood pressure
• Breast bread
• Tachycardia
• Irregular heartbeat
• Heart attacks
• Tremors or shakes
• Decreased productivity at work
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Loss of sexual desire
• Menstrual irregularities
• Female hair loss
• Chronic fatigue
• Muscle breads
• Skin disorders
• Recurring infections
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• Difficulty breathing
• Memory problems
• Depression
• Mental breakdown
• Substance abuse
• Abnormal immune system response

Stress also exacerbates conditions like restless leg syndrome.

Relatively minor stress affects many people with irritable bowel syndrome. IBS itself causes stress, especially if it is accompanied by a lot of pain; this creates a vicious self-feeding cycle that is often difficult to break. It can affect family and close friends; they see their loved one suffer, which tends to perpetuate the cycle as everyone becomes tense and anxious.

There is great benefit to be gained from eliminating or reducing negative stress in your life.

Here are some suggestions:

• Avoid watching the news for a few days. Opt for animated comedies or musicals instead.

• Take a day off if you work in a stressful environment.

• Find funny photos at images.google.com. Try searches like:

– smiling cat
– laughing moose
– laugh
– smiling dog

Laughter stimulates the immune system and increases infection-fighting processes. It also decreases pain and provides a distraction from stressful situations.

• Associate with fun people who make you laugh.

• Try deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

• Avoid thinking about your condition. Focus your attention on other things instead.

Disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only. It should not take the place of proper medical treatment, advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician and other health care providers, as appropriate, before taking any medication, supplement, or natural remedy; or before modifying your diet. Discuss all of your symptoms, plans, and medical conditions with your doctor.

Any application of the ideas contained in this article is at your own risk, discretion and responsibility. There are no representations or warranties, either express or implied, and the author assumes no responsibility for the information presented.

You should not start or stop medical treatment based on the information in this article or any other article.

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