IC/PBS can create pain and inflammation in the bladder, and stress can be a big factor in creating this inflammation.
The human body reacts to stress by pumping adrenaline and then cortisol into the bloodstream to focus the mind and body for immediate action. This amazing response has ensured our survival throughout the ages.
Cortisol in small doses is very helpful, and it turns off the inflammatory response. But when the stress is prolonged and the cells are exposed to a relentless stream of cortisol, they can become desensitized to the hormone. This can create excessive inflammation in the body.
Consider these ways to break the link between stress, inflammation and pain:
- Eat wholesome, anti-inflammatory foods and consider adding fish-oil and supplements to your diet.
- When it possible, limit your exposure to situations and people that ramp up your stress.
- Look within and consider what thought patterns and emotions might be increasing your stress and try to change them in a positive direction.
- Release stress through exercise. When you are hurting, consider low impact activities such as swimming and walking.
- Find ways to turn on the parasympathetic/relaxed mode of your nervous system. Consider some of these activities that have been supported by research: meditation, creativity, massage, yoga, tai chi, friends, work you love, laughing, exercising, and playing with animals.
Photo by: Jacqueline Meltcher Baker