Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, are chronic conditions that can be significantly affected by mental health. Patients with these diseases may experience a worsening of physical symptoms, leading to a flare-up of the disease. Symptoms may include an increase in the amount of stools, an increased tendency to bleed, and a decrease in hemoglobin levels, fatigue and exhaustion.
In Israel, approximately 65,000 patients suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, and the number is on a continuous upward trend. The causes of these diseases are not fully understood but involve a complex relationship between genetic, environmental factors and immune system-related factors. A recent study examined the interplay between mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic disorder and inflammatory bowel diseases and their symptoms. The study found that there is a mutual influence between inflammatory bowel diseases and mental disorders which may have a negative effect on the development of the course of the disease.
Research has shown that there are significant interactions between the brain and digestive system, with even more nerve cells in the digestive system than in the spine. Stress plays a significant role in exacerbating these conditions due to its effects on the axis connecting the digestive system to the brain. Prolonged stress can have negative effects on patients with IBD by causing increased inflammation in their bodies.
Dealing with prolonged stress that affects chronic illness requires careful consideration of drug treatment and medical follow-up while ensuring proper self-care routines such as eating regularly, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly such as walking or jogging for energy release purposes. Correct breathing techniques can also help stop this situation by reducing muscle tension and relieving symptoms such as bloating or constipation caused by prolonged stress.
It is crucial for individuals who experience prolonged mental distress to seek professional help from community mental health providers or health funds if it affects their quality of life negatively. Patients with IBD must maintain normal mental states to manage their condition effectively and prevent further complications caused by prolonged stress or anxiety associated with these illnesses.
For advice and support services for patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis please contact 03-7441391 from Sunday-Thursday 19:00-22:00 or visit www.ccfi.co.il for more information.