The colon-brain connection - Harvard Medical Journal Report 2010
It has often been asked how colonic irrigation may help with issues effecting the brain and the mood. Recent evidence has shown a physical connection between the brain and the colon in that both produce seratonin. Could it be therefore that your gut feeling is more than just intuition but is it infact your brain displaying its dis-ease through its link to your body? Here is an article from The Harvard Medical Journal which sheds some light on the subject and is interesting for anyone considering colonic irrigation for reasons relating to stress, depression or mood.
Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you “feel nauseous”? Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation—all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the colon.
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the colon. Therefore, a patient’s distressed colon can be as much the cause as the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system, rather than two.
This is especially true in cases where a person experiences gastrointestinal upset with no obvious physical cause. For such functional GI disorders, trying to heal a distressed colon without considering the impact of stress and emotion is like trying to improve an employee’s poor job performance without considering his manager and work environment.
Stress and the functional GI disorders
Given how closely the colon and brain interact, it becomes easier to understand why you might feel nauseated before giving a presentation, or feel intestinal pain during times of stress. That doesn’t mean, however, that functional gastrointestinal illnesses are imagined or “all in your head.” Psychology combines with physical factors to cause pain and other bowel symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the colon, as well as the modulation of symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, cause inflammation, or make you more susceptible to infection.
In addition, research suggests that some people with functional GI disorders perceive pain more acutely than other people do because their brains do not properly regulate pain signals from the GI tract. Stress can make the existing pain seem even worse.
These observations suggest that at least some patients with functional GI conditions might find relief with therapy to reduce stress or treat anxiety or depression. And sure enough, a review of 13 studies showed that patients who tried psychologically based approaches had greater improvement in their symptoms compared with patients who received conventional medical treatment.
Is stress causing your symptoms?
When evaluating whether your gastrointestinal symptoms — such as heartburn, abdominal cramps, or loose stools — are related to stress, watch for these other common symptoms of stress and report them to your clinician as well.
Physical symptoms : Colonic irrigation may be beneficial if symptoms such as the following are persistant
- Stiff or tense muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders
- Sleep problems
- Shakiness or tremors
- Recent loss of interest in sex
- Weight loss or gain
Behavioral symptoms Colonic irrigation may be beneficial if signs such as the following are persistent
- Grinding teeth
- Difficulty completing work assignments
- Changes in the amount of alcohol or food you consume
- Taking up smoking, or smoking more than usual
- Increased desire to be with or withdraw from others
- Rumination (frequent talking or brooding about stressful situations)
Emotional symptoms of toxic colon. Colonic irrigation may be beneficial if behavioural symptoms such as the following are persistant:
- Overwhelming sense of tension or pressure
- Trouble relaxing
- Quick temper
- Poor concentration
- Trouble remembering things
- Loss of sense of humor
By clearing the colon of years of toxic waste colonic irrigation may help with depression, confusion, mood swings and health issues thought to be connected to the brain.
Colonic irrigation cleansing is best done when the stomach is empty. It is beneficial to drink one to two glasses of water afterwards and eat a piece of fruit prepared fruit juice half hour later. The first one or two meals after the treatment should be light and not contain any food such as meat eggs cheese or friend food.
Some people have expressed concerns about losing friendly probiotic bacteria in the colon as a result of colonic irrigation. It is actually much easier for the friendly bacteria to repopulate in a clean environment than in one filled with putrefied and fermented waste matter. Once the colon is cleansed, it takes 36 Hours to restore natural bacterial populations