Co-Relation Between Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
How many we have suffered from IBS or some form of constipation or diarrhea at some point of time in our life? Too many, I am sure.
According to Ayurveda, the quality of your health greatly depends of how good your digestion or digestive Agni (fire) is. So, accordingly, we can ignore the occurrence of constipation/ diarrhea especially if it has continued for long stretches of time.
On the other hand, when we look at it with the Health & Wellness Coach approach, the holistic method helps us to decentralize this concept, go deeper into ourselves and fetch out the intrinsic cause behind the stress or anxiety. Creating our own agenda around this, setting a goal so as to reduce the root cause and not just the symptoms, bringing about a sustainable change in the process is what Health & Wellness Coaching aims at.
One of the important reasons for the manifestation of IBS is the level of stress. When in stress, we experience what is called the ‘Flight or Fight Response’. Flight or Fight Response is the body’s response to perceived threat or danger. Our bodies for centuries have been trained to react to stressful situation in particular manner – to either fight or run on encounter of danger. During this reaction, certain hormones like Adrenalin and cortisol are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups, and changing various other autonomic nervous functions, giving the body a burst of energy and strength. The overall digestion then shuts down and the body gets ready to conserve all the energy because it does not know how long this stress is likely to continue. We have not changed much since then. Even today, when in stress, our bodies do the same thing – shut down. We cannot change the physiological manifestations alone but what we can do is reduce the cause of chronic stress and anxiety, identify our strengths, work on them to see how it can help us manage a particular stressful situation, all the while educating ourselves and equipping ourselves with identified available resources to cope with. This can be very achievable through Health & Wellness Coaching.
So the next time, you experience symptoms of IBS, the first thing you may want to identify are the stresses in your life, what has brought them about, what are the opposing strengths you have and what is that one health goal that you’re motivated to achieve. Once you have identified the main reason or reasons for stress, you may want to figure out ways you could resolve the situation as early as possible. Meditation, Pranayama, Yoga Asanas and getting into a regular daily routine have been proven to eliminate stress. A general positive and optimistic approach to your life will help greatly in relieving some of the stress as well. Notice if these changes help your sluggish digestion. A visit to your local Ayurvedic Practitioner will help you identify whether you are experiencing any Dosha imbalances. Herbs and remedies suggested by the doctor will help significantly. Sometimes IBS can occur because of Vata or Pitta imbalance. Keeping in mind what the expert advice is, you can take the help of Health & Wellness Coaching, to get to the underlying causes and gain knowledge as to how you can manage/prevent the condition going forward.
In chronic cases though, interventions are required along with the coach approach.
Few other things that I think will help you are:
– Eliminating all dairy and dairy products
– Eliminating caffeine, processed foods
– Increasing dietary fiber
– Identifying and removing any food intolerance – You will need expert guidance for this
I hope this blog helps. More soon!