Did you know that the health of your digestive tract is directly impacting the efficiency of your brain function and vice versa? This gut-brain axis is through a direct connection between the brain, stomach and the intestines via the vagus nerve. We also know that poor gut health leads to weight gain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADD/ADHD, brain fog, poor memory and chronic inflammatory conditions.
Case: Sandy, a 42 year old women, presented with abdominal cramps and loose stools. In our Naturopathic Consultation we discovered that her symptoms only seemed to occur during work days and also correlated to stiffness and stress-related tension in her neck. Upon further questioning, Sandy shared that she was experiencing notable work stress with her boss was always putting her down. Every time her boss made a negative comment her belly would start grumbling and she would be rushing to the bathroom minutes later. This sometimes happened 4-5 times per day! Knowing a meeting with her boss was coming up would also trigger her digestive symptoms. To help Sandy through these episodes I recommended soothing nervous system herbs; Hops, Passionflower and Skullcap dosed 3 times per day. Botanical nervines (plants that soothe the nervous system) calm an anxious mind leading to a downstream relaxation in the intestinal nerves that effect motility.
Sandy began weekly CranioSacral Therapy sessions with my colleague, Dr. Jennea Wood, to relieve dysfunctional tension patterns in her body from her work place stress. After 4 sessions she noticed being more resilient to the negativity and also began to voice her concerns which were well received.
We also discussed avoiding damaging toxins to the gut, especially when it was already sensitive due to chronic stress. Toxins such as pharmaceutical medications, alcohol, mold, cleaning products, heavy metals or dirty air can trigger “leaky gut”. This leaves us vulnerable to toxins circulating into the blood stream and the brain affecting its production of neurotransmitters and hence aggravating any stress related disorder.
Luckily 2 months later Sandy’s boss was replaced and her workplace environment was no longer a source of chronic stress. The cramping and urgent stools resolved and she was no longer feeling anxious.