Correlation between IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and Stress

How many us have suffered from IBS or some form of constipation or diarrhea at some point of time in our life? Too many, I am sure.

According to Ayurveda, the quality of your health greatly depends of how good your digestion or digestive Agni (fire) is. So, let us not ignore the occurrence of constipation/ diarrhea especially if it has continued for long stretches of time.

One of the important reasons for the manifestation of IBS is the level of stress. When in stress, we experience what is called the ‘Flight or Fight Response’. Flight or Fight Response is the body’s response to perceived threat or danger. Our bodies for centuries have been trained to react to stressful situation in particular manner – to either fight or run on encounter of danger. During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups, and changing various other autonomic nervous functions, giving the body a burst of energy and strength. The overall digestion then shuts down and the body gets ready to conserve all the energy because it does not know how long this stress is likely to continue. We have not changed much since then. Even today, when in stress, our bodies do the same thing – shut down.

So the next time, you experience symptoms of IBS, the first thing you may want to identify are the stresses in your life. Once you have identified the main reason or reasons for stress, you may want to figure out ways you could resolve the situation as early as possible. Meditation, Pranayama, Yoga Asanas and getting into a regular daily routine have been proven to eliminate stress. A general positive and optimistic approach to your life will help greatly in relieving some of the stress as well. Notice if these changes help your sluggish digestion. A visit to your local Ayurvedic Practitioner will help you identify whether you are experiencing any Dosha imbalances. Herbs and remedies suggested by the doctor will help significantly. Sometimes IBS can occur because of Vata or Pitta imbalance.

Few other things that I think will help you are:

– Eliminating all dairy and dairy products

– Eliminating caffeine, processed foods

– Increasing dietary fiber

– Identifying and removing any food intolerances – You will need expert guidance for this

I hope this blog helps. More soon!

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