Is the stress from COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown upsetting your stomach and other gastrointestinal system? Here are some tips and help to navigate those tummy troubles.
The stomach ache you feel during this coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and the regular stress with the ongoing situations, is real. So, too, are the indigestion and heartburn or GERD. They’re symptoms of stress that manifest in the emotive digestive system, the connection between the brain and the gut.
Stress-related digestive troubles may be on the rise as people around the globe worry in the midst of a pandemic and a lockdown situation with limitation in individual’s mobility.
Dr. Bhavesh Thakkar, an experienced Gastroenterologist in Ahmedabad, says, “in addition to abdominal pain, stress can trigger a wide range of other gut symptoms including heartburn, nausea, bloating, a change in bowel pattern, or in rare cases, even rectal pain.”
Why does your stomach feel stress?
In times of stress, your brain sends a distress signal that makes your GI system run differently. When you are stressed, some of the hormones and chemicals released by your body enter your digestive tract, where they interfere with digestion. In addition, stress makes the nerves in the gut overly sensitive, resulting in an unpleasant gut symptom.
Common stress-related gut symptoms and conditions include:
- stomach cramps
- loss of appetite
- unnatural hunger
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- and peptic ulcers
Stress eating is consuming food in response to your feelings, especially when you are not hungry. It is also sometimes called emotional eating. During stress eating you consume more sugar based, high fat and processed foods that can agitate the GI system.
Besides GI problems, there are other long term health effects due to unhealthy food choices such as weight gain and cardiovascular diseases. It is highly important to take active steps today to tackle stress eating and find new healthy habits to manage stress during this situation of COVID-19.
Self-Comfort Tips to Help Your GI System
The very first step is to validate the world stressor during this uncertain time. We can try not to let those emotions overcome us so that we’re drained.
- Eating healthy and sticking as close as possible to the balanced diet.
- Creating a schedule for meals and snacks and sticking to it.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Remaining physically active, resisting the urge to be a couch potato and binge watch programs.
- Staying social with online gatherings or with neighbours from afar.
- Practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
Hope these tips and some information help you to manage your stress and take care of your health especially gastrointestinal health, during this time. If your symptoms are uncontrollable and need a medical assistance, talk to your doctor or gastroenterologist.