Can Stress Cause Constipation?

Can Stress Cause Constipation?

When I worked as a Colon Therapist, there were a few times I felt more like a “therapist” Therapist. The truth is that your gut and brain are connected, and mental states like anxiety or stress may be a cause of chronic constipation.

Imagine the scene…

It’s your 3rd colonic. You’re lying on a massage table in a small, plain room, covered only by a thin sheet. There’s a toilet out in the open, a chart of the Human Bowel on the wall, and a water fountain bottle is slowly infusing you with water... via a tube inserted into your butt.

But although your colon’s working hard at pumping that water back out, your labor is fruitless.

Instead of the huge release of stuck poops you were led to expect, it’s just empty gushes of clear water.

So. Disappointing.

Key Takeaway

If you have looked at the physical  and nutritional reasons for your constipation and you're still experiencing the same symptoms, it might be time to address your stress. Take a walk in the woods once in a while, breathe deeply, and see what you can let go of!

The question colon hydrotherapists know to ask

Chronic constipation is a bitch.

It makes you feel rotten and heavy, and if you’ve become so bunged up that you’re willing to pay $75 for a colonic, you have expectations.

So why isn’t it working?

Once it gets to the third colonic, the practitioner has already gone through all the physical tricks… warmer water, colder water, maybe adding something to soothe the muscles or massaging the belly from the outside.

If the physical stuff isn’t working, then it’s time to move on to the emotional. And here’s how that conversation goes:

  • minus
    me: “You don’t have to tell me, but is there anything you’re holding onto emotionally that you should be letting go of?”
  • minus
    client: Silence
  • minus
    me: Silence (waiting for it)
  • minus
    client: “....well…….. There is this one thing….”

Que the floodgates!

THAT’s the exact moment the “release” of physical built-up crap would start to come pouring down the tube.

Every. Damn. Time.

Without even getting into the details (a colonic isn’t a therapy session after all), just making that connection between “holding on” mentally and physically can get things moving.

The Gut-Brain Axis

Considering that you grow from 2 cells into the complex human that you are, it’s not much of a stretch to understand that every part of your body is connected.

Research is starting to unravel the many intricate links between the gut, brain chemistry, bacteria and how we feel emotionally.

But it doesn’t take a scientist to know it.

The bowel is the organ that lets go, so it can also be the organ that holds on.

Nina Simone on Letting Go

Nina Simone

“You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served”

Fight or Flight

One way that “holding on” can play out during times of stress is because of “Fight or Flight”

Fight or Flight is when you perceive a threat, any threat, and your adrenal glands flood your body with stress hormone such as Cortisol.

Cortisol is a slower acting stress hormone which helps your body to prioritise functions during times of stress.

Cortisol makes sure you’re ready to fight or run by:

  • check
    Regulating your hydration
  • check
    Sending water away from digestion
  • check
    Sending water TO your muscles, heart, lungs and brain
  • check
    Increasing your blood glucose

When your cortisol levels stay high because of chronic stress, it messes with your blood sugar and can cause sugar cravings that aren’t great for your gut bacteria.

It also dehydrates your bowel and your bowel muscles, slowing your transit time and getting things pretty stuck and dry in there.

The opposite of Fight or Flight

Chronic stress is a real poop-killer. The opposite term to Fight & Flight illustrates this very nicely, it’s “Rest & Digest”

Being in a calm state allows the hydration to flood back into your digestive system, speeding it back up  and letting digestion happen as it should.

What You Can Do About It

There are hundreds of great way to reduce your body’s cortisol levels, and many of them help with any nagging issues you might be holding onto as well!

These are some of my top favourites:

  • Hanging out with friends
  • Taking a Yoga class
  • Decluttering your living space
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation (for the guilt-ridden you have to check out Ho’oponopono)
  • Forest Bathing (aka a walk in nature)

So tell me…

What are you holding on to?

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: