There is a deep connection between the gut and the brain known as the brain-gut-axis that is quite complex and includes the vagus nerve, neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links. The brain has a direct impact on the stomach and the intestines. Just thinking about eating can make your mouth water and can cause a release of the stomach juices before the food even gets into the body.
Think about it now...
Just imagine you have a beautiful piece of sweet, juicy watermelon, Taste that watermelon, feel the texture, the coolness, the sweetness and notice how refreshing it tastes. Become aware of how it effortlessly falls apart in your mouth. Notice how watery it is. Really experience and taste its unique flavour.
Your mouth should be watering at just the thought of it. This is how strong the mind-body connection truly is.
The Vagus Nerve
This nerve plays an important role in creating a balance between the gut and the brain, and also reducing inflammation. It plays a part in immune response, digestion, mood control and heart rate. The vagus nerve essentially turns off your unconscious fight/flight response. If stress or anxiety is affecting your mental health, this can be transferred to your gut. Stress can affect movement and contractions of the gastrointestinal tract. The more stressed you are, the worse this experience can be.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects around 12% of people, and these people appear to have increased stress responsiveness in the gut. Almost 40% of people who suffer from IBS experience anxiety or depression. It’s interesting to note that often the onset of IBS and functional dyspepsia (indigestion) occurs with a highly stressful event in the sufferer’s life and emotional distress is quite common with IBS patients.
Does hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy for gut health was shown to be effective for both IBS and inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, and it’s a wonderful tool for anxiety in general. It’s just as important to learn to calm yourself by utilizing deep breathing techniques, yoga etc, which I teach my hypnotherapy clients. When you learn these techniques, you can learn how to quickly stimulate the vagus nerve and effectively stop the unconscious stress response (fight/flight) by bringing your mind and body to a place of peace and balance. This has positive effects for the health of your gut so it can get back to working optimally for you.
Would you like more info on hypnotherapy for gut health and IBS?
- Foster, J., Rinaman, L., & Cryan, J. (2017). Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiology Of Stress, 7(2352-2895), 124-136. DOI: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.03.001
- Moser G. (2014). The role of hypnotherapy for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology, 8(6), 601–606. DOI: 10.1586/17474124.2014.917955
- Peters, S. L., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2015). Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 41(11), 1104–1115. DOI.: 10.1111/apt.13202
- The above article is referenced in Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders
- The gut-brain connection
- Stress and the Gut pdf
6 thoughts on “How stress impacts your gut health”
So glad I found your blog…what a great topic! Will be reading your posts!
I had IBS when I was seeing a certain man. I went to the doctor, I was sent to specialists, had all these tests, was put on meds, etc. I stopped seeing the man & my symptoms disappeared. It wasn’t any physical problem but the anxiety & stress of being in the relationship with this man! I’ve remained single ever since.
Wow! The body is so sensitive to stress. I’m glad it’s sorted now, however, I do hope you don’t give up on love! Perhaps you’ll find a nice, calming man that you can be free to be yourself around. Namaste xx
I have lifelong anxiety. I suddenly became intolerant to lots of different foods and remained so for seven years. I could not socialise properly, and I realised I was an introvert. I never knew my digestion was so sensitive to my emotions. Gut feelings. I started blogging and as I unpeeled more emotions in my writing, I felt I became stronger. Every feeling is now valid and I am not ashamed to feel them when I feel then. I can name than, and know that the ones I don’t particularly like will go away soon. They’re temporary.
Writing can be a powerful form of healing and it sounds as though you are growing stronger because of it! Well done!
Reblogged this on Self Help (Personal Growth) Books and commented:
Thanks for the follow(s) * (+ likes), as the reason I write is to share.
* (Though my family and close friends say it would be far more entertaining with a video-camera # in “real life”, rather than in cyberspace!)
# By the way, do they still make them in today’s ever-faster changing world..or is it all done with mobile phones?
(get with the times now,”luddite”* c – it should be a smart phone)
* or so I was often called by my “my techno-geek” friend, Bill (“the gonk”)
“total non-techno” c (who doesn’t possess a mobile phone, after a rather eventful’ experience some years back, whilst trying to walk, talk and chew gum at the same time)
Who says men can’t multi-task!
Kind regards and all the best with your blog
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”