The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unusual level of stress for all of us. In a short period of time, everyone’s ‘normal’ routine was upended no matter what our circumstances are, or where we live.
Now, more than ever, we need to prioritize self-care by focusing as much as we can on healthy habits and stress-relieving tools to maintain our mental and physical wellbeing under very trying circumstances.
The Gut-Brain Connection
The gastrointestinal tract and the brain are inextricably woven together, often referred to as the ‘gut-brain connection’. Millions of neurons found both in the brain and the gut are constantly interacting with each other in a reciprocal relationship that directly affects physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
We have all experienced this in one form or another. When we’re nervous, for example, we describe having “butterflies in my stomach”. Stress can also cause a change in gut bacteria, which affects mood, making the gut-brain connection a true two-way highway.
How Stress Impacts Bowel Regularity
Stress often impacts eating, drinking, and exercise habits. Changes to how much, how often, and what we eat has a direct effect on both our mental and physical health, and this is felt in our gastrointestinal tract. If stress causes depression, for example, we may exercise less than normal, or not at all. Stress, depression, and anxiety often influence wellness habits such as proper hygiene, nutrition, and hydration, all of which have a direct impact on gut health and bowel regularity.
Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation can be both the cause of — or product of – stress. Stress can affect the manner in which waste moves through the intestine, causing constipation or diarrhea. The way the body absorbs nutrients in the intestine changes due to stress, which impacts bowel regularity and can produce uncomfortable symptoms such as gas and bloating.
Tips for Reducing Stress
This unusually stressful time is impacting everyone’s ‘normal’ routine. Sticking to a regular routine as much as possible – even if it isn’t our normal one – helps reduce stress and alleviate gastrointestinal distress. Here are a few tips to creating routine in your day-to-day life.
Sleep Hygiene: Maintaining a normal sleep pattern creates a sense of normalcy during these unusual times, and helps avoid sleeping too much (or too little) which can contribute to anxiety and/or depression.
Nutrition: Proper nutrition with a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and fiber is more important than ever during times of stress. To alleviate constipation, it’s especially important to consume the daily recommended amount of fiber and eat fiber-rich foods
Exercise: Regular exercise is an effective stress-buster, and helps keep the bowels moving! Gyms may be closed due to the pandemic, but there are many opportunities for daily exercise both outdoors and indoors. Even 20 minutes every day of lower impact exercise like walking and yoga go a long way towards reducing stress and sticking to a regular routine.
Self-Care: Whether you are too busy or not busy enough during the COVID-19 quarantine it’s vital to carve out time to decompress and engage in relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga, stretching, warm baths, or curling up with a good book for even 20 minutes each day – anything that enriches and revives your spirit – is essential during stressful times.
Organize: For those of us with extra time on our hands, now is a good time to tackle organization projects we don’t ordinarily have time for! Clutter is known to cause stress, and an organized environment soothes the spirit. Now is a good time to make your home a sanctuary that reduces stress and reflects your unique taste and style.
Online Resources: Sometimes it’s hard to self-motivate to reduce stress. Fortunately, there are free online courses and classes that are helpful! YouTube has many free yoga, meditation, and other stress-reducing resources. Mindfulness and/or meditation podcasts are also free and can be the perfect ‘time-out’ during a stressful day. Udemy is offering a host of free online courses on a variety of topics, including stress management.
The DocuSol® and DocuSol® Plus Advantage
The DocuSol® mini-enema delivers 283mg of docusate sodium and functions as a stool softener hyper-osmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, softening the stool and promoting a bowel movement, usually within 2-15 minutes. No waiting overnight.
DocuSol® Plus has the same active ingredient but contains an additional 20mg of benzocaine, assisting in the anesthetization of the rectum and lower bowel. The formulation was developed for patients who experience hemorrhoids, fissures, or painful bowel movements.
Find out more about how to use DocuSol® mini-enemas and DocuSol® Plus by watching this helpful video!
Visit our website to find where you can purchase DocuSol® mini-enema and DocuSol® Plus.
The material contained is for reference purposes only. Alliance Labs, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2020 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Alliance Labs, LLC.