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Bloating caused by stress?

Are you suffering from constipation, bloating, diarrhea, pain and discomfort? It can be due to exposure to stress.

Majority of people start to pay attention to nutrition. However nutritions are not the root cause of the issue. The issue is, that due to the stress your body lost some digestive enzymes and vagus nerve responsible for controlling production of stomach acid, absorption of nutrients and digestion is probably dysregulated.

Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body responsible for essential functions and also connecting some vital organs such as heart, lungs, digestive system. The nerve is responsible for controlling production of stomach acid, absorption of nutrients and digestion. It also regulates digestive tract movements.

Individuals who are experiencing stress for a long period of time, victims of psychological abuse (harassment, toxic relationships) and those who are experiencing burn out are very often suffering from bloating and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

What is happening in the body when you are stressed?

If you are stressed your nervous system is in "fight" or "fly" survivor mode. Because you always feel you want to fight or escape, your brain thinks that you are in danger. Your brain produces cortisol - a stress hormone.

When cortisol levels get too high, the vagus nerve signals the brain to release serotonin to balance this stress response. Approximately 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract.

Do you see now from where the bloating comes from? Can vagus nerve cause bloating? Yes.

Cortisol directly impacts most organs and cells in the body and the activity of the immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, musculoskeletal, integumentary, gastrointestinal and nervous systems.

When you are exposed to a chronic stress, your body get inflamed, vagus nerve become overworked and it can lead to:

  • bloating, constipation, diarrhea

  • acid reflux

  • changes to heart rate, blood pressure, sugar level

  • unexpected weight loss

  • loss of appetite

  • nausea of vomiting

  • sneezing, coughing

How to calm down vagus nerve?

  • The most powerful are breathing techniques which are recommend as a first aid to deal with stress and anxiety

  • Yoga nidra is my absolutely favorite to deal with stress. You can find plenty videos on YouTube

  • Massage is great for rest and relaxation

  • Exercise to not only release happy hormones but to stimulate vagus nerve

  • Connect with others. Reach out to your friends or join association or community . Do not isolate yourself. Connecting with others create feeling of belonging which is important for human beings because we are made for connection

  • Probiotics

Tips mentioned above will help to calm down vagus nerve but I would highly recommend to treat the cause of the issue. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, IBS, burn out or you are a victim of psychological abuse you must work on it first.


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