Studies show that stress affects our digestive system. In times of high stress, our body shifts its oxygen and blood supply to the muscles and brain. This leaves our digestive system vulnerable to bacterial infections, which can lead to diverticulitis. As a result, our digestive system can become inflamed and require surgery. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or at least minimize the onset of diverticulitis flare-ups by eating more dietary fiber and avoiding stressful situations.
Stress changes the signals that travel from the brain to the gut
The digestive tract and the brain are linked through neurotransmitters and receptors. These chemicals send signals to the gut to prepare for food and digestion. When you are stressed, these signals can change, causing the digestive tract to become inflamed. A flare up may occur if you forget to take your medication or take it in an incorrect dose. Eating irritants or carbonated beverages can also trigger a flare-up.
Chronic stress affects the functioning of these systems and changes the balance of hormones that travel from the brain to the gut. It may also cause IBS symptoms and increase your risk for IBS and diverticulitis. In addition to the above, gastrointestinal system irritation may send signals to the central nervous system, triggering mood changes. It is therefore not surprising that stress changes the signals that travel from the brain to the gut.
Stress affects the gastrointestinal tract
Diverticulitis is a common ailment with many causes. Some of these reasons are work-related, including poor physical or mental health, job insecurity, and stress. Some people develop diverticulitis purely due to stress. In such cases, identifying these triggers is important. Moreover, being aware of your risk factors can help you take necessary steps to minimize the occurrence of the disease.
The brain and gastrointestinal tract are intimately connected and are connected to each other. Your brain signals your digestive tract to prepare for a meal. You might experience butterflies when nervous or stressed, and this can affect your digestion and contribute to a flare-up. In addition to gastrointestinal issues, stress affects the immune system and the brain’s neuronal functions. High levels of stress can cause your intestines to produce more inflammatory mediators, which can worsen your diverticulitis symptoms.
Stress can cause diverticulitis
The effects of stress on the body are widespread, but diverticulitis is no exception. During times of stress, your body’s impulses divert blood and oxygen to your muscles and brain. This leaves your digestive system vulnerable to infection and bacterial issues. When left untreated, diverticulitis can result in a heart attack and a need for surgery. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stress and prevent the development of diverticulitis.
The pain associated with diverticulitis often occurs in the lower left side of the abdomen, often when a person eats or passes stools. The pain usually disappears after breaking wind. A lack of fiber in the diet is thought to be the main cause of the condition, as hard stools create more pressure in the colon and lead to diverticula. The pain associated with diverticulitis can be severe, accompanied by an abdominal abscess.
Dietary fiber helps prevent a flare-up of diverticulitis
There are many myths surrounding the benefits of fiber for people with diverticulitis. While fiber has been shown to improve digestive health, it has not been proven to help prevent diverticulitis. People with diverticulitis should avoid certain foods that can irritate the digestive lining. While dietary fiber does not directly cause diverticulitis, eating more of it is associated with a reduced risk.
People with diverticulitis should follow a low-fiber diet to prevent flare-ups. They should gradually add 5 to 15 grams of fiber a day to their diet. If symptoms are severe, they should call their healthcare provider. If they experience fever or abdominal pain, they should consult a doctor. In addition, people with diverticulitis should avoid constipation. The high-fiber diet can cause bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Symptoms of diverticulitis can vary. A clear liquid diet may be recommended for the first few days to allow the colon to heal. It is important not to continue this diet for longer than prescribed by your doctor. In addition to fluids, a doctor may prescribe probiotics in capsule, tablet or powder form, which are beneficial to the digestive tract. Additionally, some doctors recommend taking digestive enzyme supplements, which break down foods and kill toxins. These may ease abdominal pain and other common digestive problems.
While dietary changes alone cannot cure diverticulitis, other lifestyle factors can affect its severity and frequency. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opiates can increase the risk of diverticulitis. Lastly, stress can affect one’s ability to take care of themselves, leading to unhealthy habits such as smoking. Identifying and minimizing these risk factors can help limit the severity and frequency of symptoms of diverticulitis.