Stress: we are all too familiar with it! Many things can cause stress: driving in rush hour traffic; the passing of a loved one; money; studying for a big test or exam; as well as relationship issues. Stress is not all bad, stress can be a good thing in certain circumstances. Stress is healthy when it motivates us and is experienced short-term.
Some of us habituate to stress, to the point where we think the way we feel is considered "normal". This can be a problem.
How does stress negatively effect our body?
Long-term stress decreases immune system function resulting in frequent colds and illnesses. Stress also effects hormone production resulting in irregular or absent menstrual periods. Optimal digestive function is compromised during stressful events and this causes inflammation and damage to the intestinal tract lining. Food sensitivities may develop as the permeability of the intestinal tract increases.
Think of the body as having two nervous systems: the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Stress activates the sympathetic "fight-of-flight" system - you may feel on edge with adrenaline pumping! The sympathetic nervous system takes resources away from the parasympathetic "rest-and-digest" system. Important bodily functions (ie. digestion and urination/defecation) happen when we are in this parasympathetic state.
Naturopathic Doctors can order salivary cortisol testing to evaluate stress levels throughout the day. If the regular diurnal pattern is disrupted, suggestions will be given to help decrease stress levels and dietary/nutritional support given to optimize adrenal health.
Email: email@example.com or call 613-761-1600 or 613-366-1644 to book your initial Naturopathic appointment today. I look forward to helping you on your journey towards optimal health.
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.