With statistics showing that there has been a 28% increase in people suffering from long-term stress and that one third of British people are likely to be stressed for an entire day at least once a week, it can be difficult to notice its effects on your body. Many people will be aware of the common signs of stress, such as muscle tension, headaches and poor sleep, but there are many more warning signs that are often overlooked. Here, Miss Velile Ndebele from Aqualibria Colon Hydrotherapy MediaSpa reveals three hidden signs that your body could be struggling to cope with your stress levels.
This sign is more noticeable if you suffer from eczema already, however it is possible that stress can actually trigger its onset for the first time. Anxiety and stress are common triggers that cause eczema to flare up, which then creates more anxiety and stress, which then leads to more eczema flare-ups. But when the body produces too much cortisol, it can suppress the immune system and cause an inflammatory response in the skin.
Skin inflammation can be difficult to control; ensuring you're doing everything possible to prevent dryness is essential as dry skin creates itchiness. Get an intense moisturiser that is fragrance free to help prevent chronic dry skin. Take note of things that may irritate your skin such as detergents, and perfumes; remember food can also be a trigger due to intolerances or allergies. Some foods may trigger the release of T cells that cause inflammation, as well as immunoglobulin-E or IgE, which is an antibody that the body produces in response to a threat. Foods that contribute to inflammation include nuts, milk, and wheat. Keeping a record of your flare ups could help to pinpoint areas that are making your symptoms even worse during periods of stress.
It's important to note that 80% of your immune system lives within the inner ecosystem of the gut, affecting almost every aspect of how you feel each day.
Many people will just assume they've picked up a cold or sore throat from someone else or because of the weather; not many people link regular illness with stress. However, when you are stressed, certain hormones affect your body's ability to produce white blood cells, which results in your body not being able to fight off infections and weakens your immunity; thus increasing the chances of falling ill.
If you are becoming regularly ill, sit down and think about events that could be subconsciously or consciously causing stress; it could be the smallest thing niggling in the back of your mind that you've pushed away or a major life changing decision that you've chosen to avoid. The only way to really beat this symptom of stress is to deal with the problem. Talk to family or friends about your issues or perhaps release the stress rather than pushing it away by partaking in regular exercise. Additionally, you may just need a break - take some time off work to relax and enjoy time with loved ones.
Poor gut health
This is another symptom people don't associate with stress; it is usually put down to an intolerance or something that has been recently eaten. However, if you have on-going gut problems and there's no evidence of an intolerance, your body could simply be telling you you're stressed and need to take things easy. IBS, bloating, constipation, wind or diarrhea are all signs you're suffering from bad gut health.
Put simply, when you're experiencing elevated stress levels, your brain goes into flight-or-fight mode, which can impact the blood flow to your gut. This is why it's common to experience a lull in digestive and immune health in tandem with episodes of heightened stress. Research shows that ongoing stress can negatively affect the trillions of healthy bacteria in your gut, and subpar gut health can have a depressing effect on your entire system.
The gut-brain connection is no joke; it can link anxiety to stomach problems and vice versa. Have you ever had a "gut-wrenching" experience? Do certain situations make you "feel nauseous"? Have you ever felt "butterflies" in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation - all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach's juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That's because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected.
Nutrition and dehydration are crucial in good gut health; ensuring you're eating the correct nutrients daily will keep bowel movements more aligned. Other factors which can help improve your gut health include, taking a good quality multi strain probiotic daily, ensuring you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep, regularly exercising and doing activities that help reduce stress such as meditation and yoga. Additionally, if your gut is still causing issues, there are treatments that can help you combat this. Perhaps try colon hydrotherapy or specialised massages to lessen and minimise on-going aggravation such as bloating.
It is worth remembering that everyone is unique and will respond to stress in different ways. Ensure that you listen to the signs your body is showing you, take action and maintain good quality care of yourself emotionally, physically and mentally. This is vital to living a healthy, happy and less stressful life.
About the Author
Miss Velile Ndebele - Clinical Director RGN BSc I-ACT
Miss Velile Ndebele RGN BSc(Hons) I-ACT has been working in Healthcare in both NHS public and private sector since 1994, working for major NHS public hospitals as well as respected private healthcare companies like BUPA. She is Founder and Clinical Director of Aqualibria Colon Hydrotherapy MediSpa since its inception in 2005. Her responsibilities include healthcare strategic vision, business design and implementation. She oversees that day-to-day management of centre as the Lead Therapist and is also an Instructor for new recruits. During her time at Aqualibria, she has overseen over 20,000 colon hydrotherapy treatments.
Furthermore, Ms. Ndebele has been a columnist for various publications on the importance of digestive health and appeared in several interviews on TV and in the Press.
For more information visit https://www.aqualibria.com/
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