Up to 90% of women have had tummy trouble in the past 12 months, with stress being the main culprit, says the latest research, its findings released yesterday. Mental well-being is directly linked to digestive trouble. But it isn’t just women. I have found in my talks with audiences worldwide that men are also suffering from bloated feelings, indigestion, acid reflux and osophogeal burning as well as a feeling of butterflies in their stomach. Doctors and hospitals have recorded more and more people turning up with serious digestive problems (wind, bloating, excessive diarrhoea, constipation, anxiety and so on) and there is growing evidence of ‘cross talk’ between the gut and the brain. Spiritual adherents have known for years that the gut is a second brain, the emotional centre which talks to us in different ways to the egocentric thought patterns of the brain.And if we ignore this ‘intuitive gut reaction” to events or situations, we can get into serious problems physically and emotionally.
Findings from a study by Cambridge University do show that women were twice as likely to have severe stress and anxiety and they put this difference down to social changes. Dr Bernard Corfe of Sheffield Uni’s molecular gastroenterology research group has said “Stress has been well established as a contributor or cause of gastrointestinal problems – tummy upsets – and recent research is highlighting the links.” And as we know, stress can also cause us to change our diets and sleeping patterns which can alter gut function. So managing stress is something we should prioritise, if we are to live a healthy, balanced life. Aside from drinking calming tisanes or other such remedies, much consideration should be given to ways of relaxing and calming our own minds so that whatever this cross-talk means to the individual, it can be heard and better understood.