Stress can slow down digestion by keeping food in the stomach longer, which can lead to symptoms such as heartburn and poor digestion.
Ending vacations and adjusting to work and home routines sometimes bring with it some digestive discomfort associated with stress, worry, and anxiety. Discomfort in the digestive area, such as burning and bloating, are among the manifestations of anxiety. It can range from mild discomfort to sometimes severe pain.
As Dr. Isabelle Iranzo, Digestive Specialist at Vitas Valencia Hospital, explained on October 9, “Many times anxiety and longing cause heartburn and abdominal pain as stress affects the lining of the digestive tract, causing damage and lowering the protective mucosal barrier the same. In addition, cortisol, a hormone that we release in large amounts when we are stressed, can affect our digestive system as it can interfere with gastric synthesis of prostaglandins, which are necessary to maintain a normal protective barrier against stomach acid. and pepsin. Sometimes this can cause discomfort and / or lead to digestive disorders.
The discomfort that occurs in the digestive system due to stress is known as abdominal distress and, according to the specialist, “affects 25% of the population” and emphasizes that “it can affect the entire digestive system and even be able to interfere.” in our nervous system, changing appetite.”
The most common way stress affects the digestive system is to worsen the symptoms of an existing digestive disorder. “For example,” the professional says, “stress can slow down digestion, keep food in the stomach longer, which can be a trigger for increased stomach acid; even bad digestion can come and go depending on the level of stress.”
A visit to a specialist is necessary if reflux, poor digestion, or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include recurrent abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements two or three times a week. “Prolonged digestive discomfort over time can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcers, or other digestive disorders,” says Dr. Iranzo.
So that the return of summer is not so difficult and we can take care of our stomach, there are habits that are fundamental for Dr. Iranzo: “you need to avoid drinking alcohol, reduce or eliminate coffee, because it irritates the stomach.” mucous membrane and esophagus. Also, don’t over-consume citrus fruits when you experience reflux symptoms such as burning due to their acidity.
In terms of diet, the best option is light food and a regimen that excludes indigestible foods. “A balanced and varied diet rich in mucus-containing fruits and vegetables is recommended. Fiber, which protects the body’s inner lining, is found in foods such as pumpkin, figs, borage, and green beans. As much as possible, you should bet on oily fish such as salmon and tuna; and white meats such as chicken and turkey, says the professional, emphasizing the importance of avoiding the overindulgence of spices, spicy foods, sausages and carbonated drinks.
It should be borne in mind that in many cases the beginning of the daily routine, forgotten during the holidays, and the seasonal change can cause headaches, back pain and muscle pain, which we treat with anti-inflammatory drugs. “Particularly they are not harmful,” says the specialist, “but if we make them a habit and abuse them, they can also cause digestive problems.”