Do you suffer from abdominal pain when under stress? You may have an ulcer....
How much do we really know about stress and stomach ulcers?
With the impacts of COVID-19, relentless lockdowns and economic pressure all around us, it's no wonder many of us are feeling unusually high stress levels during these uncertain times. But what happens if the pain in your abdomen you experience when you are overly stressed or anxious just won't go away? Well, you may have a stress-induced ulcer, and there are several causes and symptoms of this ailment.
What actually happens to the body when we experience stress?
Your body activates the fight or flight response, more formally known as the sympathetic response. Adrenaline is released into the blood stream from the adrenal glands and causes an array of rapid changes.
Heart rate increases to circulate blood through the body at a quicker pace, delivering oxygen to your muscles rapidly. The blood vessels constrict, causing the blood pressure to increase while the airways dilate to allow a greater amount of air to enter the lungs. The pupils become larger to allow more light in while the perception of pain is reduced.
While all of these changes sound extreme, they help us in the moment and are balanced by the nervous system response that counteracts all of these processes. The real danger is when the stress becomes chronic and the body has difficulty 'turning off'.
This evolutionary mechanism interprets the stimulus as a threat, something that is putting you in danger. This was useful during times of a hunter-gatherer society when large predators hunted humans, and is a fascinating instinct which we still experience when feeling the effects of modern day stress. Work stress, family stress, inter-personal relation stress, and other factors contributing to internal instability and anxiety, are all highly prevalent in today's face-paced society, and can have long term physiological effects.
How can stress cause a stomach ulcer?
In certain individuals, changes in the secretion of stomach acid and mucous protecting the stomach tissue from the acid may lead to erosions in the tissue over time, a condition known as a gastric ulcer. While some research shows stress to be a direct cause of ulcers, current research has also shown that the experience of psychological stress influences health risk behaviours. These behaviours in themselves place the individual at a higher risk of developing an ulcer and include smoking, lack of sleep, and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
Coughing or vomiting blood
Do stress ulcers go away?
The healing of a stomach ulcer is aided by the fact that the cells forming the stomach wall have a high turnover rate, and this rate is increased in those with ulcers. This makes sense because the cells in this environment are exposed to acids, large muscle movements as the food is churned, different spices, foods of various textures, so cells can 'wear out' quickly and need to be replaced. The larger danger occurs when the tissue is ulcerated for so long, that the cells begin to mutate, potentially placing you at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer.
However, if the tissue hasn't reached a state with mutations, then given enough time and with a reduction in stress, the tissue will eventually return to its pre-ulcerated state.
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Perfectly Healthy’s Ulcer Care is a natural treatment to relieve stomach ulcer symptoms, pains & sores.
How Ulcer Care can help:
- Reduce the over production of acid that can cause ulcers
- Create correct digestive environment to heal ulcers
- Directly heal ulcers by creating a barrier over the ulcer
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