Living with colitis isn’t a walk in the park, especially when stress rears its ugly head. Stress management is integral to controlling flare-ups and maintaining your overall wellness.
Unfortunately, stress exacerbates many health conditions. Colitis is no exception. The strain on your mind could trigger inflammation in your gut. And when this happens, it can result in painful flare-ups.
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol. This ‘fight or flight’ response is excellent if you face a physical threat. Yet, it’s not effective when the danger is psychological.
The resulting hormonal imbalance can wreak havoc on your digestive system. And when this happens, your hormones can trigger a colitis flare-up. An ulcerative colitis flare-up is the return of symptoms after not having any for a period of time.
This may involve diarrhea, belly pain and cramping, rectal pain and bleeding, fatigue, and urgent bowel movements. Although you may feel helpless against the return of symptoms, changes in your diet and lifestyle may help control your symptoms and lengthen the time between flare-ups.
So what can you do about it? Effective stress management might be the missing piece of your colitis treatment puzzle.
Learning how to manage daily stresses and anxiety-inducing situations is vital. Doing so will reduce the frequency and severity of your flare-ups.
So, here are some tips on better managing your stress and reducing colitis flare-ups.
What Triggers Colitis
To manage your colitis symptoms, you must understand the root cause. Colitis is an inflammation of the colon’s inner lining. So, it can be disruptive in your everyday life. It’s important to note that stress doesn’t cause colitis directly. It does, however, exacerbate the condition.
Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones known as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). These hormones are linked with inflammation, potentially resulting in a flare-up.
External triggers such as diet and smoking may also contribute to these flare-ups. However, each person is different. So, what causes a flare-up for one person may not affect another.
Here are some common triggers among those who have colitis:
- Certain foods or drinks
- Antibiotics or other medications
Take the time to understand how these factors impact your body. Doing so will allow you to manage your symptoms better.
For instance, consider maintaining a food diary if certain foods trigger your symptoms. It can go a long way toward mitigating these effects. Next time you experience a flare-up, you can check the journal to see if your body reacted similarly.
Learn Techniques to Manage Stress
You may have heard the phrase “stress is a killer.” It’s no exaggeration when it comes to managing colitis. High-stress levels can trigger flare-ups and impact your health.
Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as physical distancing, can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.
After a traumatic event, people may have strong and lingering reactions. Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.
The symptoms may be physical or emotional. Common reactions to a stressful event can include
- Feelings of fear, shock, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares, concentrating, and making decisions
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
So, let’s delve into some practical strategies to manage stress effectively.
Regular exercise should be on top of your list. You don’t need to become a marathon runner overnight; taking baby steps is just as effective.
Try incorporating daily walks or yoga sessions into your routine. The benefits are twofold: exercise lowers stress hormones and helps improve sleep quality, reducing anxiety.
Deep Breathing & Meditation
Deep breathing and meditation are two powerful tools in combating stress. Incorporate mindfulness meditation daily. It will train your brain to stay calm in stressful situations.
At the same time, deep breathing exercises activate your body’s relaxation response. Practice deep breathing to reduce feelings of anxiety.
Let’s remember balanced nutrition, too! Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.
This ensures your body gets all the necessary nutrients so it can function. Avoid caffeine and processed foods, as they might exacerbate symptoms of colitis.
Using marijuana may also help you combat your flare-ups. Marijuana eases anxiety and reduces inflammation, which are both prevalent in colitis.
Vaping or smoking medical marijuana is the most efficient method of use. Veriheal further explains how marijuana may help with the condition.
Successfully managing stress to reduce colitis flare-ups is within your reach. It’s all about embracing a balanced lifestyle. And realize you’re not alone on this journey. There are people in the colitis community who can support you and offer advice should you need it.
Consider the adoption of effective stress management techniques. Try specific techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. These practices help manage your colitis symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
Remember, everyone’s experience with colitis is unique. That said, what works for one person might not work for another. You must listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Lastly, remember the importance of regular check-ins with your healthcare provider! They’ll provide valuable insights throughout your journey toward a balanced, healthier lifestyle.