It was interesting when we did the survey for the End Diverticulitis Reference what our Newsletter readers had to say about stress.
It turns out that Stress was the number 1 cause for people to have a flare up, ie Diverticulosis to turn into Diverticulitis.
Well Stress causes your body to not digest food properly. Usually when under stress blood and oxygen are not directed to the digestive system but to other areas in the body. This has a direct effect on how well the digestive system works. When the stressful situation is resolved the blood and oxygen is directed back to the digestive system. So imagine that you have the Diverticuli and you body is busy fighting an infection in them. A stressful situation comes up, blood and oxygen is taken away from where your body is fighting the infection. Guess who starts winning, yep, the infection. So you have a full blown flare up of Diverticulitis. It is important to give your digestive system the best possible chance for fighting any infections, and stress does not allow that to happen.
So what do you do?
Well avoid stress. That’s obvious isn’t it.
However while it is obvious we all live in the real world and not some utopian society.
So it will not always be possible to avoid stress. So we need to learn to manage it and control it.
There are things you should consider.
If it is your job that is causing the stress, is it continuous? Are you under constant pressure to perform and is the place you work a high stress work place?
You need to ask yourself. Do you really need it? I know some people thrive on it and love the stress and high action jobs, but if your health is failing then why risk Diverticulosis for the sake of a job. Might be time to have a look around at something else.
Is it something specific in your life, money, illness (Diverticulitis can itself cause stress, which can cause Diverticulitis, nasty circle that one). Then you need to face the problem and find a solution. Once it is brought out into the open and discussed you might find the solution is closer than you think. But keeping it inside will not help.
Some simple things you can do RIGHT NOW to help relieve stress.
1. exercise. get out and stretch the legs
2. deep breathing, very simple take a few deep breaths when you feel the stress building and calm down.
3. identify what is causing the stress and take actions to fix it.
4. understand what you can and cannot change. and change the things you can
5. avoid unrealistic expectations
6. have a break
7. enjoy a pastime, be it family, hobbies, something you can loose yourself in.
8. avoid chemical stress enhancers, coffee, alcohol etc
9. learn relaxation techniques, from meditation to sport
10. if all else fails GET HELP don’t be too afraid to ask a professional
Is it yourself? This one is a tough one. I know a lot of people are worriers, spend all their time worrying about things and places and a lot of the time it is really just pointless. You need to control concerns and anxieties as if they get out of hand they will cause stress which can flare up your Diverticulitis.
I strongly suggest that you seek some sort of solution if Stress is a major factor in your life. As Stress is a major factor in Diverticulitis. You need to control Stress, manage stress and avoid stress. Things will go wrong and problems will happen. It is how you face these and treat these problems that will determine how well Diverticulitis is managed.