Is Stress-Induced Serotonin Aggravating Your IBS?

Did you know your gut is your "second brain”?

Its localized nervous system is highly sensitive to all reactions, physical and emotional, in your body.

We’re experts at developing highly personalized strategies to help patients better manage IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome.)

Our experience has shown that one area in particular is key—careful stress management.

Now, let’s be clear. Managing IBS can be complex. There’s no simple single solution for everyone.

However, to us as naturopathic doctors, managing stress is a top priority and one we understand well.

Serotonin—a key to better digestion?

Serotonin is best known as the chemical associated with the central nervous system, especially its role in regulating moods, including feelings of happiness and well being.

But did you know that 95% of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in the gut?

Serotonin affects the speed with which food moves through your intestines. It can change the levels of fluid, such as mucus, which is secreted in your intestines.

And serotonin also alters the sensitivity of your gut, even to the point of affecting how full you feel.

Lowering stress to manage serotonin in your gut

At SFNM, we've worked with many people with IBS and have seen that paying attention to this "gut-brain" connection can make a difference in managing IBS more successfully.

Reducing stress can help you manage serotonin levels, which in turn supports better GI health. Generally, we recommend that patients with IBS incorporate proven stress management techniques into their lives.

First, slow down at mealtimes.  We live in a fast paced world, but food is one of life’s great pleasures: it is meant to be savored. Think “slow food,” not fast!

Second, chew thoroughly. Gulping food down interferes with proper digestion, not to mention the possibility of choking on large pieces of food.

Finally, give yourself enough time in the morning for a relaxed bowel movement.

Our experience shows that treating IBS requires careful analysis and involves addressing underlying imbalances.

And managing stress can be one of the most effective natural strategies to help your gut be happy and healthy again. AT SFNM we often recommend stress-reducing acupuncture or a relaxing craniosacral therapy treatment.

IBS is a complex syndrome with many possible causes and complicating factors. If you're trying to understand the causes of IBS for you, our doctors can help you focus in on the most effective and individualized approach.