Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, can be greatly affected by a patient’s mental state. Physical symptoms of the disease may worsen to the point of a flare-up, resulting in an increase in stools, tendency to bleed, decrease in hemoglobin levels, fatigue and exhaustion. With approximately 65,000 patients in Israel suffering from IBD and the number continuing to rise, it is important to understand the interplay between mental difficulties and these chronic conditions.
Research has shown that there is a mutual influence between IBD and mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic disorder. This negative impact on the development of the course of the disease highlights the importance of addressing mental health concerns for IBD patients.
The relationship between the brain and digestive system is well established with more nerve cells in the digestive system than in the spine. Stress has a significant effect on this axis connecting the two systems. Prolonged stress can lead to increased inflammation in the gut which can exacerbate symptoms of IBD.
To cope with prolonged stress that affects IBD symptoms, it is crucial to prioritize self-care firstly by paying attention to drug treatment sequences and medical follow-ups. Secondly, proper breathing techniques can help regulate energy flow within the body and reduce sympathetic system activity which can cause muscle contractions and intestinal cramps. Additionally, focusing on daily routines and physical activity can provide a sense of control over one’s life while also releasing pent-up energy from stressors.
If mental distress persists with harmful effects on quality of life for IBD patients who are already at risk for complications due to their condition, seeking professional help from mental health providers is essential. Contacting local community resources or health funds for support services is critical for maintaining both physical health and mental wellbeing during this challenging journey with IBD. For advice or guidance contact [insert hotline number] or visit [insert website URL].