Stress Management by Nutritionist

Is Your Illness From Stress?

Is your illness from stress?  Over the last 13 years, I’ve seen clients with all sorts of aliments.  Some are simple like a little extra weight or low energy, but others require some detective work.  Some people go to numerous doctors’ appointments, running many tests.  It feels like a mystery, but in general, I’d say the two common denominators are stress and food.  Food is medicine and stress affects both the mind and body.  Hence, some people experience certain illnesses and want to fix it physically, but they might find that stress is the underlying cause.  Do you experience any of these and haven’t linked it to your stress level?

Is Hair Loss from Stress?

I’ve had a few clients (and friends) who literally pull out bundles of hair or notice hair thinning.  This is pretty extreme.  Most people in this situation know that they are in a high stress work environment or family trauma, but they may not know where to start.  The situation is so paralyzing that they often stay in this toxic situation for far too long—until hair falls out.  Please get help immediately.

Stress Causes Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Stomach issues from stress are by far the most common symptom I’ve seen.  You may experience heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, etc.  Appropriately, we say “I have a gut feeling” or “I feel sick to my stomach.”

Some would say our stomach is our second brain.  Therefore when we sense stress, it’s often a quick response in the gut.  Over long periods of stress, this can cause long term digestive issues like ulcers, IBS, diverticulitis, etc.

Other Symptoms Due to Stress

Other symptoms include muscle pains.  When we are stressed, our muscles tense up and we feel pain or soreness.  We often feel this in our neck, back, shoulder, head, or jaw from clenching.  I see people addressing their bodily pains with physical remedies when all along it was from chronic stress.

Similarly, other physiological signs such as lightheadedness or dizziness appear due to increase in heart rate.  You may be short of breath too.  Due to stress, you hyperventilate without knowing.

Other symptoms over time include decreased sex drive, irregular menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, dry mouth, and trouble swallowing due to slow production of saliva.  Pain sucks but it’s the only way our body communicates with us.  Evaluate if your illness is from stress.

How to Manage Stress

If you struggle with any of the aliments above, try to manage your stress.  Here are some simple ideas.  Although you may have the knowledge, applying it is very different.  Get support to make these actions a habit where you don’t have to “work hard” to accomplishment them.

  • Clean up your eating and hydrate. Food is medicine.
  • Exercise fosters both mental and physical healing.
  • Get into nature. Cortisol decreases by 20% in nature.
  • This has long term effects.
  • Connect with others. This boosts our mood.
  • Use creativity. All forms of art will help de-stress.
  • Find healthy coping skills. This is easier said than done, for sure.  Avoid coping with overeating, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Support is Key to Success

Making lifestyle changes all at once can feel overwhelming especially with all the conflicting noise on the internet.  Humans are hardwired to need support; seek it both personally and professionally.  Get a free 30-minute phone consultation.  See if this is the right match for you by addressing natural weight loss, cravings, emotional eating, balanced diet, disease prevention, nutrition, and getting to the root cause of what’s keeping you stuck.  See what others are saying on Google and Yelp.

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~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition Coach & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA