Irritable bowel syndrome as a result of Stress
Who isn’t stressed? But if you have IBS or gut issues, you’re likely to experience symptoms as a result. Remember the gut – brain connection? The more stressed you are, the worse your symptoms are likely to be – unless you find healthy ways of managing that stress. I use different ways to de-stress depending on the day. Sometimes a good workout helps; other days, not working out and just taking a nap calms me down. More often than not, cleaning my house helps! Hug? If you’re like me, having a dirty house, seeing piles of laundry, and having loads of dishes to wash actually make me stressed! So keeping a clean house helps me “breathe” a little. I also take CBD (cannabidiol), which has also been a huge factor in taking the edge off of stress. It mainly helps me sleep – and when you get a good night’s sleep, that’s when your body, your gut, and your brain can recharge and heal.
Hormonal changes (such as during your menstrual cycle)
Do your IBS symptoms tend to follow your cycle? I know mine do. First off, lots of women have GI symptoms – bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation – that correlate to where they are in their cycle. Pain and diarrhea tend to be more common in the first half of your cycle (before ovulation), while bloating and constipation are worse in the second half of your cycle, and those hormonal changes often aggravate your IBS symptoms. If you have IBS, you’re also more likely to have painful periods, cramping, and premenstrual syndrome than women without it.
Drugs, including antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria, which means that these medications can affect the microbiome, throwing it out of whack.
Eating too quickly or while distracted
How often do you eat while you’re checking Instagram, watching TV, or sitting at your desk? Constantly, right? Well, out bodies are not meant to digest food when we’re preoccupied, rushed, or stressed; that distraction interferes with normal digestion, even in people without IBS. But if you have IBS, rushing trough a meal is likely to make you feel sick just minutes later.
Eating while talking is also another factor. For instance, when you’re out to eat with a friend and you feel “rushed” during the meal because you’re trying to hold a conversation, and the only way to do that is to eat super fast (mostly likely not chewing all the way and swallowing large pieces of food) so you can then talk. Or there’s chewing while talking – this actually creates gas!
A lack of exercise
You already know that exercise is good for you, but it also helps your digestive tract function properly. If you’re sedentary, your digestion may be sluggish as well. But here’s the problem – when your IBS symptoms are out of control, you may be in too much pain to even go for a walk. And who wants to go to the gym when you don’t know if you’ll need to rush to the bathroom? And that does not even mention the fact that exercising, or exercising too much, can also make IBS worse. It depends on you as a person and your history of exercise.
Poor sleep habits
Just like exercise, a lack of sleep or a lack of quality sleep can make IBS symptoms worse. But once again, if you’re up half the night in the bathroom, your sleep is going to suffer!
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