There’s science behind it. Stress throws off your gut — or microbiome, more specifically — which can set off a domino effect in the rest of your body, and bloating is one indicator of that.

“The gut is referred to as the second brain,” said Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, doctor of osteopathic medicine at Four Moons Spa in San Diego, CA, and The Ash Center For Comprehensive Medicine in Manhattan, NY. “Under times of acute or chronic stress, it can often manifest in the belly first.”

Dr. Lyon explains that “when one is under chronic stress, cortisol and other hormones are dominant.” Here’s how that domino effect begins to work: “Under this situation [of intense or chronic stress], the body does not see digestion as a priority; the sympathetic system redirects blood flow away from the intestines to what the body perceives as more important needs.”

So the blood goes away and madness ensues. “This redirection of blood can lead to diminished enzyme and stomach secretions, resulting in slow digestion, food breakdown, and assimilation. The result of this is bloating and gastrointestinal distress.”

In addition to the slowed digestion, there can also be an influx of “bad” bacteria, as was explained by Amie Valpone, nutritionist and founder of TheHealthyApple.com. “When our microbiome is out of balance from stress, we get an imbalance of nonbeneficial bacteria such as yeasts, parasites, and bad bacteria that take over and make us feel bloated and tired and bring along a host of unwanted symptoms that range from person to person.”

Dr. Lyon gave a two-pronged approach to treating stress-induced bloating. Find out more…

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