Constipation, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms can be brought on or made worse by high levels of stress. These symptoms can also be brought on by adjustments in bowel habits, which may include constipation. Scientists have discovered a variety of links between the brain and the stomach, any one of which could be the cause of symptoms of constipation. The symptoms of constipation brought on by stress can be alleviated with the help of a variety of treatments and remedies. In this piece, we will discuss some of the hypothesized connections between stress and constipation, as well as some possible remedies for the condition.
Stress Hormones may Contribute to Constipation
An individual is said to suffer from constipation if they have trouble passing stool or if they don’t experience bowel movements very frequently. Individuals may experience a wide range of symptoms associated with constipation, including the following:
- Less than 3 bowel movements on a weekly average.
- Stools that are dry, hard, or lumpy
- Bowel movements that are challenging or distressing to pass
- The sensation that one is unable to empty their bowels
There Are Many Possible Causes of Constipation
The most common reasons for constipation are dehydration, not getting enough exercise, and eating an unhealthy diet, such as not getting enough fiber in your diet. Somatic symptoms are the term used to describe the physical manifestations that can result from psychological stress. When an individual is stressed out, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as eating unhealthy foods, getting less exercise or sleep, or forgetting to drink enough water. These are some of the potential causes of constipation. Scientists have discovered several different ways that stress can cause constipation. These ways include the following:
The adrenal glands of the body secrete a hormone known as epinephrine in reaction to stressful circumstances. This hormone is involved in the so-called “fight-or-flight” response of the body. It triggers a response in the body that redirects blood flow away from the intestines and toward more critical organs like the heart, lungs, and brain. Because of this, the movement of food through the intestines slows down, which can lead to constipation.
The body reacts to stress by increasing the amount of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) that is released in the bowels. This hormone has a direct effect on the digestive tract, which it can cause to become swollen and painful and even cause it to move more slowly. Intestinal processes can be sped up or slowed down depending on the type of CRF receptor that is active. The intestines contain various types of CRF receptors.
The intestinal barrier becomes more permeable when a person is stressed. This permeability makes it possible for inflammatory compounds to enter the intestines, which can result in a sensation of abdominal fullness, which is a frequent complaint among individuals who have difficulty passing stool.
It’s possible that the normal, healthy bacteria in your gut could be affected by stress. Although this hypothesis has not been proven by research, a large percentage of individuals think that stress may decrease the number of beneficial gut bacteria in the body, which in turn may slow down digestion. Even though researchers have made significant progress in establishing connections between stress and constipation, there is still much more to learn in this area. Ongoing studies are being conducted to investigate the effects of stress hormones on the body.
Children are not immune to the effects of stress, including constipation. The presence of constipation was linked to exposure to traumatic life events, according to the findings of a study conducted on children of school age. The findings of the study showed that younger folks who had encountered life stresses such as the death of a loved one, the failure of an important exam, or the loss of a caregiver’s job were more likely to experience constipation.
The Treatment of Constipation Brought on by Stress
Improving one’s diet, consuming a sufficient amount of fiber, and maintaining adequate hydration are among the most effective methods for relieving constipation. Participating in regular physical activity can also be beneficial because it stimulates motion in the digestive tract, which in turn helps relieve symptoms of constipation. These lifestyle changes are likely to be beneficial to mental health and will likely reduce the levels of stress experienced daily.
Consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and eating foods that are high in sugar and fat are all factors that can raise the risk of experiencing constipation and stress. It’s possible that attempting to avoid or restrict these foods and drinks will help to improve both symptoms.
People who experience constipation as a result of stress have the option of using traditional treatments for the condition, such as mild laxatives, fecal softeners, or prescribed medications. However, these treatment options don’t address the root cause of constipation, so the condition will continue to persist. Long-term use of these products may impair the body’s natural ability to eliminate waste through bowel movements.
People who suffer from constipation may find that professional counseling helps identify sources of stress in their lives that may be contributing factors. People who have experienced trauma in the past or who suffer from mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression may find this therapy to be particularly beneficial. Taking part in activities that help relieve stress daily could also be beneficial. Meditation, yoga, keeping a journal, reading a book, and listening to serene music are some examples of activities that fall under this category. Furthermore, it is essential to avoid going to the restroom in a hasty or forced manner as much as possible.
Stress hormones have a direct impact on bodily functions by altering the processes that occur within the body. When individuals are stressed, they are more inclined to have a poor diet, drink insufficient water, and engage in less exercise than they would otherwise, all of which can lead to constipation. An individual who is suffering from chronic constipation as a result of stress should consult a physician. The physician will be able to assist the patient in finding solutions not only for constipation but also for the stress that is causing it. Discover preventive measures and lifestyle choices that can help reduce the risk of developing depression, including maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and fostering social connections.