Is your colon making you depressed? Some psychologists believe there could be a connection between digestive disorders and the mind. You've probably already experienced this to some degree. You have to get up in front of a crowd to speak and suddenly your stomach cramps up. You go away for a business trip and your colon goes on strike for several days.
Most people chalk these symptoms up to a case of the nerves or being out of their normal routine, but could more serious mental disorders start in the stomach? And which came first? Does the digestive system go whacky due to emotional stress or is the unhealthy state of your colon causing mental distress?
The brain in your stomach
The gut is often referred to as the second brain. It contains its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system. Like your other brain, it contains neurotransmitters that make up the communication network between nerve cells. These cells direct intestinal movement. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter for a healthy mind and a healthy digestive system. You may already know the important role serotonin plays in mental health and mood. However, the digestive system actually makes 95 percent of the serotonin in your body. It controls how much fluid is secreted in your intestines and how fast food moves through the bowels.
Diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating are common complaints that send people to their physicians. It's possible these may be linked to low serotonin levels in the gut. Since you already know how the brain can cause distressing symptoms in the stomach, it's very possible that mental distress can be triggered when the digestive system isn't working correctly. The fact that it contains most of the serotonin in the body makes this even more likely. Researchers are investigating new drugs designed to work on serotonin changes seen in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
The holistic opinion
Naturopathic doctors believe the key to total body health begins in the digestive system. They believe it's impossible to achieve good health if the digestive system isn't working properly. It makes sense. If nutrients are not absorbed correctly, your body will be lacking the nutrients necessary for optimal health. If the body is unable to digest food, due to imbalances in the intestinal system, it certainly would have an adverse effect. Naturopathic doctors often recommend fasting to rest the digestive system or as a natural cleans for colon health.
If you are suffering from digestive issues or depression, it's important to rule out more serious health conditions before assuming a connection between the two. Only your medical doctor can help determine the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor may perform a colonoscopy to look inside your digestive track to see if things are running smoothly. Other tests may be ordered to help uncover the source of your ailments, and treatments will be suggested for your specific condition.
You may be amazed at how different you feel when the mind and body connection is working together to keep you healthy and feeling well. For more information, contact Northwest Gastroenterology Associates.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.