Gas problems caused by anxiety

Gas problems caused by anxiety

Excessive gas in your digestive system can lead to pain as well as embarrassing sounds coming from your stomach. As you have probably guessed anxiety can play a major role in the presence of too much gas in your stomach as well as the development of associated diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Gas problems caused by anxietyYour emotions are dependent on your nervous system but so too is your bowel movement. Some people tend to have more sensitive intestines than others but abdominal bloating or irritable bowel syndrome, also known as spastic colon is very common in people suffering from anxiety.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter pinpointed by research as the culprit which changes the functioning of the nerve cells in the bowel increasing pain perception. This means that normal bowel functioning may become painful. Serotonin can also alter the movements of the bowel resulting in more gas accumulating inside your bowel.Too little serotonin in your brain can make you anxious and depressed and too much serotonin in your intestines can cause you abdominal cramps. The balance between serotonin in your brain and in your bowel is very important and severe emotional stress can easily disturb this balance.

People who are overly anxious may also unconsciously swallow air as their breathing pattern may be irregular. The best way to treat this is through deep breathing exercises. As you become more aware of slow deep breathing you may not only relax but also swallow less air and consequently feel less bloated.

There are a few ways of relieving that bloated feeling and its associated cramps but for long term benefits you should consider treating the anxiety which lies at the root of all your unpleasant symptoms.

As mentioned before, simple deep breathing exercises may not only relieve your cramps but may even improve your anxiety. Combining deep breathing with muscle relaxation exercises can help to induce a relaxation response in your body as opposed to the stress response responsible for your anxiety. A permanent cure for anxiety may be found in cognitive behavioral therapy but its effectiveness is dependent on your own commitment and co-operation. Many people have however been cured from anxiety with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT so why not you too?

Practical ways of relieving the accumulation of abdominal gas are the following:

  • Avoid the following habits:
    • Drinking through a straw
    • Chewing gum
    • Sipping carbonated drinks
    • Sucking on hard candy
  • Avoid the following foods:
    • Beans and lentils
    • Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes and apricots
    • Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and fructose
    •  Dairy
    • High fiber whole grains. You should slowly introduce fiber into your diet to allow your digestive system enough time to adjust.

Anxiety can seriously compromise your enjoyment of life but the good news is that it does not need to carry on like this for the rest of your life. The fact that you are reading this article means that you are considering ways of how to be rid of your anxiety and that is a very important first step. Now all you need to do is take some action and take back control of your own life.

References:

“Irritable bowel syndrome.” Better Health Channel. 2012.Vic.gov.au. (November 28, 2012) http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Irritable_bowel_syndrome

Vorvick, Linda J; Longstreth, George F; Zieve, David. “Abdominal bloating.” MedlinePlus. 2012.  Nih.gov. (November 28, 2012) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003123.htm

“Bloating 101: Why You Feel Bloated.” WebMD. [No date] Webmd.com. (November 28, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/bloated-bloating

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