Stress levels over the last month in this country have been some of the highest we’ve seen. Not only are rates of depression up but for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), rates of gastrointestinal difficulty are also higher than normal. That’s no surprise – there’s a direct link between the brain and the gut; when you are anxious, nervous, or angry, it often manifests itself with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Symptoms of Stress
It may be difficult to distinguish some of your IBS symptoms from other gastrointestinal symptoms, but watch for these:
- Sudden onset of stomach cramps
- Bouts of diarrhea
- Nausea that goes away with deep breaths
- Changes in and/or loss of appetite
- Stomach or abdominal pain
How to Reduce Stress
We are living in uncharted times, and stress is something that has impacted all of us. Whether you are experiencing aggravated IBS symptoms or not, reducing stress levels is good for your health. Try these five things to reduce stress:
- Breathing and Meditation. Whether you do this on your own or find a guided video to lead you, meditation and breathing exercises can reduce stress quickly.
- Work out. Exercise is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. It doesn’t have to be a huge exertion – even just a walk out in the fresh air will do.
- Talk to a friend. Social isolation is difficult, and it can lead to extreme stress for some people. Even if you live in an area where you’re still unable to return to work or school, set up time to Skype or Facetime with friends. Maintain your connections to others.
- Monitor your diet. Stress is a big cause of binge-eating and eating things that cause more harm than good. Be sure to continue to monitor what you eat and follow your prescribed diet to protect your gut health.
For more information or to book an appointment with Gotham Gastroenterology, contact our office at 212-794-0240. Our team of experts strives to provide excellence in gastroenterology for patients in NYC. You can also make an appointment by filling out a form.