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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Can Digestive Issues Cause Mood Swings?

Recent research has concluded that our digestive system is closely connected to the health of our brain. Many people suffering from mental health conditions like depression and anxiety often find themselves also dealing with digestive issues like upset stomach, feeling of nausea, and appetite loss.

There are many neurological disorders that affect stomach. In other words, the digestive system works at its best when it coordinates with the nervous system. The signals sent by the digestive system to the brain leads to the secretion of various digestive fluids. These fluids are what makes possible the digestive tract and bowel movements.

Many people experience stomach problems and mood swings. Yet they don’t pay attention to it and treat their digestive problems isolated from other parts of their body.

The Gut-Brain Connection – What Is It?

 stomach problems and mood swings

Woman experiencing stomach ache, Credit: Pixabay

Can digestive issues cause depression? They certainly can. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness are often characterised by loss of appetite or increased cravings of comfort food. Many people struggling with stomach problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are also suffering from anxiety and depression conditions.

A person becomes more stressed and anxious when their gut is not functioning at its prime. It has led scientists to conclude that the mental health of a person is strongly tied to his/her gastrointestinal health. Stomach and intestinal problems like heartburn, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea are all common symptoms of stress. Hence, to deal with such symptoms, you need to keep your stress levels under control.

Is Depression Connected with Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD)?

Depression and IBD

Woman feeling stomach cramps, Credit: Pixabay

A person with IBD experiences abdominal pain, along with several skin conditions. The resulting emotions impact their mental health significantly. They may experience bouts of sadness and may feel unable to process such emotions. Over a prolonged period of time, these constant feelings of sadness result in the onset of depression in that person.

Depression affects the immune system. Your body’s capability to fight the digestive issue like IBD greatly diminishes. Hence, the recovery process slows down. These patients need various therapies for depression. It will help alleviate their depression and consequently treat their digestive health condition.

Stress is also a major contributor to various GI disorders. The digestive system, as well as the nervous system, are constantly exchanging signals with each other. These signals regulate their functioning. A distressed intestine will send similar signals to the brain and vice-versa. Hence, it is always a good idea to practice stress management techniques in order to achieve healthy gut and brain health.

Gut-Brain Connection Diet

can digestive issues cause depression

Person holding a bowl of healthy food, Credit: Pixabay

You can facilitate a healthy gut-brain connection and stay away from any digestive and mental health conditions by including the following food in your diet. They will promote a good gut health and consequently, keep you happy and stress free. Include foods rich in:

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts and seeds, nut butters, fish, and dairy products.

  2. Foods rich in fiber like beans and legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

  3. Fermented foods like cheese and yoghurt that contain lactic acid.

  4. Tryptophan and polyphenol-rich foods like eggs and cheese, olive oil, coffee, and green tea.

All these food items will increase the number of good bacteria in your stomach and enhance your gut as well brain health.

Your gut and brain are connected by millions of nerves and neurons. Many chemicals that are produced in your stomach can affect your brain in significant ways. You can enhance both your digestive system and nervous system health by maintaining a healthy and stress free lifestyle. Eating a gut-brain connection diet rich in fermented foods, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids is known to promote a good mental health.

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