Stress & the Digestive System

Stress is a normal physical “fight or flight” response to external or internal events that make you feel threatened or upset your physical or mental balance in some way. External events include work, relationships, finances, major life changes or any situation that you’re confronted with on a daily basis.

Internal events determine your body’s ability to respond to, and deal with the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.

Stress, in small doses, is not all bad as it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. Too much stress can injure the Digestive System as the “fight-or-flight” response naturally slows down digestive function.

This is a normal body reaction to “shut down” any unnecessary functions and conserve energy. A slow digestive system can lead to fermentation of undigested food in the gastro-intestinal tract causing symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, flatulence, constipation and/ or loss of appetite.

Eventually the body becomes more susceptible to infection, inflammation and Candida overgrowth and the gastro-intestinal tract tissue becomes irritated and inflamed: it becomes leaky.

Leaky gut is a condition where the gut “leaks” and allows too much into the bloodstream. This could be large food particles, bacteria or toxins from bacteria, or even the yeast Candida.

You can protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.