Stress and bloating

Is stress the reason you are feeling bloated?

Stress and bloating – the connection?

 

We are going through some unprecedented times at the moment, collectively we are all feeling some level of stress and for some this may have some undesired effects on digestion.

 

While digestive concerns can be caused by a variety of factors, stress can impact the digestion in a multitude of ways. The part of Nervous system that controls our bodily functions, has two basic settings Sympathetic the ‘fight and flight’ response seen in stress or Parasympathic ‘rest and digest’ in our relaxed state. When we are stressed, we are in a state ‘fight and flight’ this means our body is prioritising it’s energy and resources into responding to this stress, this is great in times of acute stress as it often increases our concentration and alertness to respond to the situation, this becomes an issue when we are in a period of prolonged stress – it is then a form of dis-stress.

 

As our body priorities some functions, other functions become less of a priority – one of those being the digestive system. In response to stress our body produces less gastric acid, gastric acid (or stomach acid) plays a key role in digestion of proteins, it helps us to activate digestive enzymes so we can break apart and utilise all the nutrients from our food.

 

If we have low stomach acid, this will cause a slow and poorly functioning digestive system. It will mean food cannot be broken down as well and will often sit in our stomach for longer, this will cause bacteria to build up and food to ferment as it sits longer in our gut, this will then lead to symptoms such as gas, bloating and for some constipation as well.

 

 

What can you do for stress related bloating?

 

Finding tools and techniques to manage stress is of significant importance, an easily accessible and helpful tool is often mindfulness and meditation apps you can download onto your phone – we’ve listed our top 4 here.

 

There are a few easy ways you can support digestive function, it is important that we always eat slowly in a relaxed environment, taking time to chew our food properly (about 20-30 chews before swallowing food), you may also wish to boost your digestive function by having  apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon with water before meals – this will help to increase gastric acid and digestive enzymes to improve digestion.

 

Natalie Earles – Clinical Naturopath

Natalie is an empathetic and caring Clinical Naturopath who creates a relaxed and non-judgemental environment for her clients. She is registered with the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA) and is a registered provider with Australia’s major health funds.
She has a special interest in the management of skin conditions, digestive disturbances and autoimmune conditions and can also assist with a broad range of other health issues including allergies, stress and fatigue, sleep disturbances, women’s health, hormonal and reproductive health and general wellbeing.
She is passionate about empowering her patients with a greater understating of their health and the causes behind your ill health. Working alongside your current health care providers she creates personalised treatment plans including dietary and lifestyle advice as well as herbal and nutritional medicine recommendations to help you achieve your health goals.