Stress and Constipation
In the busy world of today, almost no one can escape the effects of stress on the body. Many health conditions are caused or exacerbated by stress. Constipation is no different.
There are two major ways in which stress can affect constipation. First, stress causes us to make lifestyle choices that are unhealthy for the intestinal tract. Secondly, stress can directly cause patterns of digestion.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Stress and Constipation
So many of the choices we make each day will impact our health. When we’re busy and stressed, we tend not to take care of our bodies.
Being busy can cause many to wait to go to the bathroom. Delaying a bowel movement is one of the most common reasons that people become constipated.
A stressful schedule can also lead many people to eat on the run. Most “fast-food” diets include large portions of foods that cause constipation (such as meat, fatty snacks, and soda) and very few portions of vegetables, whole grains, and water. This type of diet can often lead to stress and constipation.
People often skip meals and eat hurriedly, not taking the time to chew their food. Because a regular schedule of eating leads to regular bowel movements, irregular eating can lead to problems with stress and constipation.
Direct Effects of Stress and Constipation
The nervous system is very sensitive to stress. Constipation may be a direct result of changes in the nervous system during stress.
Normal bowel movements are a result of complicated nervous system signals. Too much stress can cause an interruption of these signals that will affect many parts of the digestive tract. It can slow the intestinal movements that result in bowel movements.
Preventing Stress-Related Constipation
If you have constipation as a result of stress, there are many options that you can choose to help prevent this problem.
Exercise can be a great stress-reliever and has the added benefit of promoting healthy digestion. It may seem like just one more thing to add to your schedule, but it will be worth it.
Planning meals ahead of time can help with some constipation problems. Instead of skipping meals, keep healthy snacks on hand for busy days.
If you have to eat on the run, choose options with healthier meals. Many fast food restaurants are offering healthy options that include lean meat and vegetables.
Keep water with you at all times. If you have a bottle of water on your desk or in the car, you’ll be more likely to stay hydrated.
If you’re suffering from severe symptoms of constipation as a result of stress, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can come up with a solution to improve both your physical health and your mental health.