3 Reasons To Get Your Stress Levels In Check In 2018

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2. Your bathroom habits are unpredictable

Chronic stress can make you constipated or have diarrhoea.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

The same systems that increase blood pressure and heart rate during stress also cause food to be digested more slowly.

The chemicals produced by the stomach and intestines change when you’re stressed. Food gets broken down in different ways and the body may have difficulty absorbing the nutrients from it. This can lead to constipation, diarrhoea and general intestinal discomfort.

Chronic stress has also been linked to more serious diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. While the reasons for this still aren’t clear, it’s thought that chronic stress causes bowel disease by increasing inflammation from intestinal immune cells called mast cells.

Read more: So you think you have IBS, coeliac disease or Crohn’s? Here’s what it might mean for you

Treatment for these diseases usually revolve around managing the painful and uncomfortable symptoms instead of addressing the underlying cause. However some therapies, such as the hormone melatonin, work by reducing the effects of stress on the gut.

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