Gut Feelings

First Posted March 2017

canstockphoto19913695Most of us experience stress in our daily lives on some level. When you are chronically stressed or if you add anxiety into the mix, you may experience a whole range of physical symptoms that can include digestive issues; which can make it difficult as you go about your day. Stress can affect every part of your digestive system. An estimated 60 -70 million people in U.S.A suffer from some form of “tummy troubles.”

There is a strong connection between the brain and the digestive tract. Some refer to the digestive system as our “mini Brain”. This is due to the “vagus nerve fibers that carry signals from the gut to the  “real brain”, not the other way around.”    The digestive system is really sensitive to our moods;  “95 % of the bodies Serotonin is found in the digestive tract, not the brain.” (Serotonin is a naturally occurring, mood-boosting hormone.)  Your gut may react if you are feeling stressed or anxious because the brain releases hormones that trigger your fight/ flight response, and this slows down the blood flow to your digestive system.

This slowing of the digestion can cause:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Constant feeling of fullness
  • Constipation

Stress can also increase your stomach acid which may cause:

  • excessive burping or belching
  • a queasy stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • diarrhea

You may have one or two of these symptoms or a combination from both lists; the intensity may ebb and flow depending on the stress that is going on in your life, or any anxiety that you may be feeling. Taking steps to limit your stress can be helpful to ease your digestion issues. For more info check out my blogs on Stress or Anxiety.
If you are having ongoing digestive issues, you may want to consider seeing a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis and maybe some advice on what to do next.

Other things to try to ease your Tummy Troubles:

  • Ginger, Peppermint, Licorice or Lemon Balm Tea are soothing.
  • Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes may be helpful.
  • Examine your diet; some foods may be an irritant to your digestive tract. (Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Caffeine, and Sugar may be a few to look at.)

Essential Oils for Digestion Issues:

Diffusing essential oils like Neroli, Lavender, Frankincense, Geranium or Cedarwood is very soothing when you’re feeling stressed.
If you are feeling nauseated, try a personal inhaler or smelling salts using Grapefruit, Sweet Orange,  Ginger and/or Spearmint essential oils.
You may also want to consider trying essential oils, applied topically to your abdomen for the digestion discomfort. 

Essential Oils to consider:  bergamot2

Bergamot: is one to try for anxiety, stress as well as indigestion, & flatulence (avoid the sun after use due to phototoxicity)

Black Pepper: consider this one for constipation, indigestion, flatulence
(May be a skin irritant for some individuals. use in low doses; overuse may cause kidney irritation)

Sweet Fennel: an antispasmodic so it helps with cramps, gas & flatulence (Avoid if epileptic,  pregnant, breastfeeding or using for small children)canstockphoto20398227

Ginger:  useful for nausea, gas, bloating,  flatulence & travel sickness.
(may cause skin irritation in some individuals)

Grapefruit: is is mild enough for children especially for inhalation or diffusing; is an uplifting essential oil that is helpful for stress, as well as indigestion & upset stomachs.  (use in small amounts to avoid phototoxicity)

Mandarin: is mild enough for children; is useful for calming the stomach & flatulence (Avoid using topically if you are allergic to citrus fruits)

Sweet Marjoram: is an antispasmodic so it helps with cramps, gas, constipation & flatulence (Avoid with low blood pressure)

Peppermint: is useful for indigestion, nausea, gas, diarrhea & flatulence       (Avoid with young children  or if you are pregnant)

Roman Chamomile: is mild enough for children; is useful for indigestion & diarrhea. (Avoid if you have a Ragweed Allergy)

Spearmint: is mild enough for children especially for inhalation or diffusing; is useful for nausea, hiccups, flatulence, stomach cramps,  travel sickness.

Dilutions: When applying essential oils topically, it is important to check the contraindications and to dilute them in a carrier oil, a gel base or an unscented lotion.(When using essential oils in the proper dilutions the benefits far outweigh the contraindications.)

For Children & the Elderly: choose an appropriate essential oil, and dilute at a .05% or a 1% dilution depending on the age & health of the child or elderly person.(.05 % is 3 drops per 30 ml & 1% is 6 drops per 30 mls of carrier oil)

For Healthy Adults: Dilute essential oils at 2% dilution. On rare occasions, I will use a 3% if needed. (2% is 12 drops per 30 ml & 3% is 18 drops per 30 mls of carrier oil).

 I always use the least amount of essential oils in my blends, that will work for me, my family or my clients. With essential oils, less is always more.

* If you are on medication or have an ongoing medical condition, check with your healthcare professional and/or a qualified aromatherapist before using any aromatherapy products topically.

 

My Blog is for information only  & is not meant to diagnose or replace medical advice. Essential oils should not be ingested  & always need to be diluted before topical use.​​

References:

  • Battaglia SalvatoreThe Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition,                                                                       The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
  • Falsetto, Sharon.  Authentic Aromatherapy: essential oils and blends for health, beauty, and home.                        New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing. 2014

https://www.westcoastaromatherapy.com/free-information/articles-archive/
http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/articles/1968/wellness/slow-digestion.html
http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/better-digestion/how-stress-affects-digestion/
https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/digestive-health-14/digestion-health-news-200/stress-and-the-digestive-system-645906.html
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/digestive-diseases-statistics-for-the-united-states.aspx
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/9197756/What-your-guts-telling-you-why-your-digestion-holds-the-key-to-your-health.html
http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/stomach-upset.shtml
http://psychologyofeating.com/4-ways-stress-impacts-digestion/
http://www.thebodysoulconnection.com/EducationCenter/fight.html

Photos are from www.canstockphoto.com
coverphoto by canstock/cteconsulting

 

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