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Tips for Dealing with Digestive Upset that Comes with Family Caregiver Stress

Family Caregivers in Wilmington, NC

Stress is a reality of life for the vast majority of family caregivers. Handling all of the needs of elderly adults along with raising children, managing a career, maintaining a home, and nurturing your marriage can lead to feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, and just overall stressed. This stress can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, including exhaustion, depression, anxiety, chronic headaches, and increased vulnerability to illness and infection. For some family caregivers, this stress can also lead to serious digestive upset.

Experiencing digestive problems while coping with high levels of stress is not just a coincidence. Studies have shown that stress has actual physiological impact, including the digestive system actually shutting down due to the overactive response of the central nervous system referred to as the “fight or flight” response. This effect cuts down blood flow, decreases the secretions necessary for digestion, reduces the digestive muscle contractions, and can lead to inflammation of the entire gastrointestinal system. All of this can cause symptoms such as heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rumbling, ulcers, nausea, and increased risk of infection.

These digestive troubles can dramatically reduce your quality of life and make it difficult for you to fulfill all of your tasks on a daily basis. From pain and discomfort, to weakness, to always being concerned that you need to get to the nearest bathroom, these digestive problems can be a further source of stress, creating a cycle. Finding ways to cope with this digestive upset can help to live a healthier lifestyle, feel better, and be a more effective family caregiver.

Try these tips to help you deal with the digestive upset that can come with family caregiver stress throughout your care journey with your elderly loved ones:

  • Relaxation. Relaxation methods including breathing techniques, yoga, stretching, and visualization are highly effective in easing the stress itself, but can also be extremely effective at helping the actual digestive problems. Focused relaxation can help calm the digestive system, encourage proper blood flow, and promote healthy contractions of the digestive muscles, all of which improve digestion and reduce upset.
  • Advance preparation. For some people, digestive troubles associated with stress are just a reality of their family caregiver journey and there is no real way to prevent it from happening completely. If you are still coping with digestive upset, advance planning can help you to feel more in control. Bring over the counter digestive aids and stomach relief medications with you in your purse, know where restrooms are accessible wherever you are going to be, and be cautious about what you eat when you know that you will be out. Many people find that just having these preparations in place help them to experience less symptoms.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Wilmington, NC, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (910) 363-2866