Dr. Ertan Beyatlı

Our Second Brain Our Intestines

(Update: ) - Digestive System Diseases

Unnecessary and unreasonable deadlines. Getting stuck in traffic. Although we have a lot of time to do, we don't have enough time to do this.

Of course, many of us are familiar with everyday stresses such as fast heartbeats, panting and stomach cramps. Of course, just having a digestive condition can be a concern in itself.

Studies show that a major stressful event over a long time can affect your gut even now.

Being stressed can also cause many of us to consume and / or drink too much cigarettes and / or alcohol.

Related article: Facts You Should Know About Probiotics

Functional gastrointestinal disorders affect 35-70% of people at some point in life, more often in women than in men. These diseases have no apparent physical cause - such as infection or cancer - but result in pain, swelling, and other ailments.

A large number of factors - biological, psychological and social - contribute to the development of a functional digestive disease. However, numerous studies have shown that stress can be particularly important.

The relationship between environmental or psychological stress and gastrointestinal stress is complex and bi-directional: stress can trigger and worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa.

That's why psychological treatments are often used in conjunction with other treatments - even on their own - to treat functional gastrointestinal disturbances.

Intestines, a second brain

Life-sustaining functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature are regulated through the autonomic nervous system. This complex neural network extends from the brain to all the main organs of the body and has two main parts. Sympathetic nervous system "fight or flight”(Also used as fight or flight). The parasympathetic nervous system calms the body after the danger has passed. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems interact with another lesser known component of the autonomic nervous system - the enteric nervous system that helps regulate digestion.

To the enteric nervous system sometimes "second brainBecause it is based on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). After sensing that food has entered the intestines, the neurons lining the digestive tract convert muscle cells into signals, pushing the food further, initiating a series of intestinal contractions that break down into nutrients and waste. At the same time, the enteric nervous system uses neurotransmitters such as serotonin to communicate and interact with the central nervous system.

This "brain ligament axisHelps explain why researchers are interested in understanding why psychological or social stress can cause digestive problems. When a person becomes stressed enough to trigger the fight or flight response, for example, digestion slows or stalls so that the body can divert all of its internal energy against a perceived threat. In response to less severe stress, such as public speaking, the digestive process, abdominal pain and may slow or temporarily deteriorate, causing symptoms of other functional gastrointestinal disease. Of course, it can work in other ways: persistent gastrointestinal problems can increase anxiety and stress.

What is the real impact of stress on our gut?

Many studies show that a stressful lifestyle is associated with the onset or worsening of symptoms in certain digestive conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and peptic ulcer.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis In a study conducted for inflammatory bowel diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, it was concluded that chronic stress, adverse life events and depression may increase the risk of recurrence in patients. This study identified several mechanisms by which stress affects both systemic and gastrointestinal immune and inflammatory responses. The sad event detected in these studies was that stress reduction techniques did not reduce the symptoms of IBD after a while and did not alleviate the disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

In a prospective cohort study of 600 people with Campylobacter bacterial gastroenteritis, researchers found that the patient's ability to cope with stress prior to infection. İBS They found that it was an important factor in whether or not to continue to improve. Those with the highest perceived stress, anxiety, and negative illness beliefs were at greater risk of developing IBS. In contrast, depression and perfectionism did not appear to increase IBS risk.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

In a study conducted at a medical center for women's health, researchers noted that there was no increased frequency of acid reflux when patients were under acute stress. In practice, however, chronically anxious patients were more likely to notice their symptoms worsening during a stressful event. In other words, his attitudes influenced the perception of symptom severity.

Peptic ulcer disease

Most ulcers Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) caused by a bacterial infection. Contrary to old beliefs, neither eating spicy food nor living a stressful life ulcercause s. H. pylori bacteria weaken the protective mucous lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, allowing acid to pass into the delicate lining beneath it. Both acid and bacteria irritate the lining and cause a wound or ulcer. However, some evidence suggests that continued stress leads to inflammation of the mucosal lining, thus allowing gastric juices to irritate the delicate stomach lining beneath it.

All Digestive Conditions

Stress increases intestinal motility and fluid secretion. This is why you may experience urge to urinate, diarrhea, or repetitive urges during or after a stressful event. Stress relief can delay the contents of the stomach and speed up the passage of the material through the intestines. This combination of activities leads to abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. In addition, acute psychological stress reduces a person's pain threshold.

How Do You Manage Stress?

It's important to remember that stress can be a good thing in small doses. The real annoyance is two extremes, that some people can handle great sadness without blinking, while others can get into trouble at the slightest deviation from the normal routine. The thrust you need can motivate you to do your best and stay focused and alert.

Problems only accumulate when stress is constant.

The specific symptoms of stress vary from person to person, but the potential for harm to your health, emotional well-being, and relationships with others is an obvious reality. Stress affects the mind, body and behavior in many ways outside of the digestive system, including weight fluctuations, headache and muscle aches, mood swings, and mental function.

You have to find your own way to deal with the stress in your life.

Planning certain events ahead of time can be helpful for reducing your overall stress level. By understanding how to deal with stress, lifestyle changes can be made to lower your stress levels.

Tips to Reduce Anxiety or Worry and Stress

Take a better breath. Stress can cause you to breathe shallowly, which means your body is not getting enough oxygen to fully relax. Learn to breathe slower and deeper than your stomach. One way to do this is to imagine that you have a small beach ball behind your belly that you slowly inflate and deflate.

Talk to yourself. Most of our anxiety is self-stimulating, which means we often start to worry about the worst-case scenarios or make small events disproportionate.

See your negative thoughts. In the medical field this is called Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in English Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This psychotherapy waiting time helps patients learn the skills to change and cope with inefficiency thoughts and behaviors to better manage stress and anxiety. Watch your negative and negative thoughts to see how often you fear about things like losing your job or making mistakes. If you find yourself obsessed, try replacing the negative but thinking with the positive but realistic one. For example, instead of thinking “I know something will go wrong during the presentation”, say “Whatever happens, I can handle it”.

Be physical. Exercise is a well-known tension reliever and can help alleviate symptoms. There's a small problem here, that strenuous, high-impact exercise can trigger GERD symptoms, so be sure to increase exercise slowly and assess your body's tolerance for it.

Become a better time manager. Many of us underestimate the amount of time it will take to do something, which usually means we're running late. Try keeping a time management diary for a week to get a better idea of ​​how much time the various tasks actually take and learn to prioritize them so you can get the most important things first.

A good rule of thumb is to devote 20% more time than you think you should do the task.

Learn to say no. Thinking that 'he can do anything' creates unnecessary pressure. Find out how to set limits for yourself. Gently - but surely - cut down on additional responsibilities or projects that you don't have extra time or energy to. You don't have to make long and detailed explanations about the reason. Simple, “I'd love to help you, but I'm doing something else right now,” it usually does business in most cases.

Take time for yourself. Our minds and bodies require a certain amount of variety, otherwise our overburdened nervous systems will continue to accelerate into the next day. Try to take at least one day off each week to do something you really like. Don't forget to get enough sleep, worship, bathe comfortably, listen to music, sing, play with pets, dance, play, have a picnic, go to the movies, read a book, chat with friends, or anything else that brings you pleasure.

Laugh easily. Laughter is a natural stress reliever that helps lower blood pressure, lower your heart and breathing rate, and relax your muscles. Catch comedies, have a chuckle with a friend, and make an effort to look at the lighter side of life.

Choose food carefully. Some foods can increase your stress levels, while others can help reduce it. Generally, fatty, sugary and / or processed foods increase stress in most people, while lean meats, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables appear to reduce stress. Choose foods wisely and in addition to relieving stress, your body will love you for it!

Get support. Psychotherapy can help reduce persistent gastrointestinal discomfort.

Prepared & Translated by: Op. Dr. Ertan BEYATLI - 2019


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