Treating the emotional side of gastrointestinal disorders

Treating the emotional side of gastrointestinal disorders

March 19, 2015 Uncategorized 0

file0002110782787One of the founding fathers of our country wrote a book that would make anyone with a gastrointestinal twitch giddy with excitement. It was called Fart Proudly.

While not as widely known as some of Benjamin Franklins’ other works, it showed that humans need to fart for health reasons.

Franklin was not just blowing steam up the “you know what” either. Recent studies vindicated his ideas about how passing gas helps ease digestion. That is one of the main reasons why men pass gas 12 times daily, while women do so about 7 times a day.

The big question then becomes if this is such a common occurrence, why do we get all bashful about the process?

Probably because gastrointestinal disorders makes us feel uncomfortable. However, we all have those problems. That moment when your stomach churns when you are in public, and you are about ready to die of embarrassment.

If you do not know how to cope with the emotional side of gastrointestinal disorders it could cause problems for you.

That is why we have a few solutions to help you reduce the gas and the accompanying anxiety surrounding it.

Note: If you experience severe pain or irregularity problems contact your doctor immediately.

5 Steps To Coping with the Gastrointestinal Distress

Step 1: Remove stress from your life. While this is not a discussion about good versus bad stress, it is proven that stress in your life can increase stress in your stomach. Our stomach is like a lightening that absorbs the stresses we have in our life.

That is why when people are stressed, they sometimes say words like “sick to my stomach” or they have “butterflies in their stomach.” Stress often shows in our body through these gastrointestinal diseases.

To reduce stress, use relaxation techniques like meditating or visualization where you picture yourself removing the stressors from your body.

In as little as 15 minutes a day, you can start to reclaim your life from stressful situations.

Step 2: avoid foods and sugars that cause gas.  While many people know to avoid sugared beverages and candy, also be aware that many fruits and vegetables can cause intestinal distress.

Some of these fruits and vegetables include apples, pears, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onions. While you should not stop eating your fruits and veggies solely for this purpose, it is okay to reduce your intake of specific foods that cause problems.

Also, you should minimize whole grains such as bran; and dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream.

A good nutritionist should be able to help you if you are confused at what the best foods are for your body.

Step 3: understand that some people might not even notice. This might sound weird, but the term “borborygmi” talks about how bowel sounds seem loudest to those experiencing the sounds.

However, most such noises are inaudible. Many people are unaware of them or at least unconcerned.

Therefore, the noises you hear in your stomach that you thought woke up the sleeping dragon, were not even noticeable to others in the room.

Step 4: You are not alone. The biggest challenge many give when they come to speak to me about gastrointestinal problems is they feel like they are the only one who experience this.

That is far from true.

Take this story from the Gluten Free Vegan Mom responding to a question about a gluten intolerance symptom called a gurgle.

“All I know is it feels like the last 6 to 8 inches of the intestine (right at the end of the anus) Makes the most embarrassing NOISE! It’s kinda like the noise if your using a straw and deliberately trying to make noise…To be honest I DREAD being in quiet rooms with people because I never know when it’s gonna happen.”

Stories like these reinforce the notion that everyone has some type of gastrointestinal distress they face. Talking about it with someone close to you, who will keep the conversation confidential can be very helpful in understanding your emotions about these challenges.

Step 5: Understanding the microbiome. In a full circle to step 1, let’s talk about the relationship between the brain and stomach.

We discussed above why you need to reduce stress, but nothing makes it clearer than the research in 2011 by Bercik. He gave mice the chemical BALB to test their reaction.

This antibiotic cocktail changes the composition of the gut bacteria. When that composition changed, normally shy mice became bold and adventurous.

It turns out the BALB increases BDNF in the hippocampus of the brain. This is an important factor in mood and memory.

The microbiome in our stomach effects our responses in our mind. This process also works in humans, and is a key reason why removing stress is so vital in removing gastrointestinal distress.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see you are not alone. Almost everyone on the planet has some type of gastrointestinal problem that affects that at one point or another.

The key is to not let it affect the other areas of your life. By using the steps we discussed above, you may even then be able to Fart Proudly.

In the meantime, if you have any personal questions about the matter, please feel free to call my office at 847-824-8366.

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