Does Stress Really Affect Digestion?

We found out from gastroenterologist Anna Yurkevich why people don’t feel like eating before exams or even interviews.

Some people have a stomach ache from stress; someone won’t get a piece in their throat. Reactions vary, and we asked an expert why this is happening and how our belly is related to such experiences.


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What is stress? 

For some, this is a journey in the subway; for others – a flight by plane. In any case, the gastrointestinal tract will somehow react to the excitement due to the autonomic nervous system’s action.

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for the work of internal organs; it functions autonomously and constantly. With the power of thought, we cannot influence the intestines, stomach, and other organs. Therefore, whether we like it or not, stress hormones are produced, such as adrenaline, in response to experiences.

Does Stress Really Affect Digestion?
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

Under its influence, the gastrointestinal tract muscles relax, the motility slows down, the sphincters contract. Here is one explanation for the pain in the right hypochondrium after stress; in this area, the bile ducts with their sphincters are projected, which are sensitive to errors in nutrition and stress.

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As for the digestion itself, at the moment of stress under the influence of all the same hormones, the “fight or flight” mode is activated. The main blood flow goes to the heart, brain, and muscles so that if something happens, have time to escape or fight back. In such a situation, the gastrointestinal tract does not receive adequate blood supply. Therefore, the digestion process slows down.

Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff

Sources: Life hacker