5

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Stress and Gut Health

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I'm very much interested in what specific processes take place in the gut when we're under chronic stress.

Does any one know the mechanism behind chronic stress as a cause for poor gut health?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on August 25, 2011
at 08:48 PM

i have the chronic tensing - though i'm never sure if it's in response to bloating or a cause of it. i'll check out the book, thanks.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 25, 2011
at 05:42 PM

I feel for you Kelly - we're due to move again shortly also and it's more stressful because an exact date can't be nailed down yet because of some issues that are out of my hands. That is really tearing me up!

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:56 PM

That Claire Davies' book appears to be really interesting. Thanks for that :)

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:43 PM

I purchased that book a while ago, haven't read it yet :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Thank you for the book recommendation! I already bought it on Amazon and it's on it's way! I have a friend that I think could really, really use this.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:45 PM

that reminds me, when I did accupunture in taiwain to help with my issues he recommened a circular movement over my abs, one way to go, the opposite way to stop! If nothing else it does take my mind off the problem!

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:43 PM

interesting, that does make sense. We move every 2+ years internationally as well and I have to start about 8 wks before the move trying to organize so I can do it 'calmy and collectively' to get the pre-packing done. Its always a stormy time for me, we're gearing up right now for packers in 1 1/2 wks and my stomach is already in constant spazams....exercise does seem to take the edge off and get rid of that nervous energy when it creeps up.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:50 PM

This sounds very true, for me at least. I've never handled stress well/properly. I like sameness and rarely get that for more than a few years at a time. Because of my husbands job we move every few years and it's always a huge ordeal for me to get though and I take a long time to adjust. Now at 40 I've developed an auto immune disease so it wouldn't surprise me that my inability to deal with stress in a healthy way has probably caused or contributed to this.

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4 Answers

best answer

6
8f46bdba543e1ea2c3818f4b243ff040

on August 25, 2011
at 12:31 PM

There are several mechanisms involved, but mostly it has to do with an overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (perhaps you've heard of fight or flight?) When this system is chronically stimulated, it slows the activity of the gut. (Have you ever seen an animal stop to squat and poop when it is running from a predator? Same principle.) Hormone shifts are also very common as we remain in a heightened state of alert. Our bodies are very good at adapting to our surroundings. The problem is that we weren't designed to be under that kind of stress for long periods of time. Then we crave junk because we need to feed the processes that are involved in inflammation...which is actually a protective mechanism for healing from these "fight or flight" bursts. The junk food, of course, causes more gut problems and eventually can start causing autoimmune problems as well.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:50 PM

This sounds very true, for me at least. I've never handled stress well/properly. I like sameness and rarely get that for more than a few years at a time. Because of my husbands job we move every few years and it's always a huge ordeal for me to get though and I take a long time to adjust. Now at 40 I've developed an auto immune disease so it wouldn't surprise me that my inability to deal with stress in a healthy way has probably caused or contributed to this.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on August 25, 2011
at 05:42 PM

I feel for you Kelly - we're due to move again shortly also and it's more stressful because an exact date can't be nailed down yet because of some issues that are out of my hands. That is really tearing me up!

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:43 PM

interesting, that does make sense. We move every 2+ years internationally as well and I have to start about 8 wks before the move trying to organize so I can do it 'calmy and collectively' to get the pre-packing done. Its always a stormy time for me, we're gearing up right now for packers in 1 1/2 wks and my stomach is already in constant spazams....exercise does seem to take the edge off and get rid of that nervous energy when it creeps up.

2
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:36 PM

here are a couple of interesting links i have bookmarked. (i think they're from an answer to another PH thread.. can't find it/don't remember.)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1592668

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11040188

2
E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8

(1436)

on August 25, 2011
at 03:58 PM

Robert Sapolsky wrote the book on this entitled "Why Zebra's don't get Ulcers".

Basically, when a stressor is encountered, stress hormones (CRH/ACTH/Glucocorticoids) are released. This triggers the "fight or flight" response, which shuts down (or downregulates) non-critical functions of the body such as digestion, immune response, reproduction, and so on, so the body can focus on the immediate needs of removing the stress. This works great on the savannah when running away from a predator, but not so great when worrying about the mortgage bill all day long. Prolonged stress can lower the immune system, decrease blood flow to the gut, decrease stomach acid production, etc. This leads to gut health issues.

I highly recommend the book.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:43 PM

I purchased that book a while ago, haven't read it yet :)

2
27361737e33ba2f73ab3c25d2699ad61

(1880)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:53 PM

Stress can cause an inadvertant chronic tensing of the abdominal area which can lead to trigger points along the abdomen and pelvis that can cause constipation, pain, bloating etc

I highly recommend Claire Davies' masterpiece on triggerpoint self-massage. I used the simple yet powerful self massage techniques for everything from frozen shoulder to elbow and calf sports injuries to abdominal issues from gyno issues. Someone recommended it to me years ago on the paleofood forum and it is invaluable. Another great book is Amy Stein's Healing Pelvic pain -- exercises and self-massage.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:45 PM

that reminds me, when I did accupunture in taiwain to help with my issues he recommened a circular movement over my abs, one way to go, the opposite way to stop! If nothing else it does take my mind off the problem!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 25, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Thank you for the book recommendation! I already bought it on Amazon and it's on it's way! I have a friend that I think could really, really use this.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on August 25, 2011
at 08:48 PM

i have the chronic tensing - though i'm never sure if it's in response to bloating or a cause of it. i'll check out the book, thanks.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:56 PM

That Claire Davies' book appears to be really interesting. Thanks for that :)

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