Our mental health impacts our gut health. While it is important that we follow a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle to keep the gut and the digestive system healthy, we should also keep a watch on our mental and emotional health as it can impact the way our bodies function. “Our bodies always know when something is not okay. And while we often want to look at what we’re eating and what we need to cut out…maybe we also need to look at our mental health and our relationships. Have you ever noticed the link between your digestion and the state of your relationships,” wrote Therapist Maria G Sosa. She further explained how mental health can impact digestion:
Increased risk of leaky gut: Certain biomarkers can increase the risk of leaky gut – the condition where food, bacteria and germs pass the digestive system to enter the bloodstream, leading to inflammation and a series of illnesses. Continuous conflicts in a relationship can lead to this.
Disturbed gut microbiome: Often constant conflict in a relationship can cause stress and anxiety – this can disturb the balance of gut microbiome, affecting digestion and the way the body absorbs nutrients.
Higher levels of stress hormones: Cortisol is a stress hormone that can increase stomach acid and slow down the digestion process, thereby affecting gut health. Often hostile conflicts in a relationship can increase Cortisol levels.
Disordered eating habits: Emotional stress from a relationship can cause disrupted eating patterns, binge eating or skipping meals. All of these practices can harm the gut health.
Aggravation of existing conditions: In the face of relationship stress, symptoms of existing digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease can get elevated.
Mind-gut connection: The emotional turmoil of a relationship can lead to disruptions in the mind-gut connection, further leading to digestive issues and discomforts.