Last week, it was stress and high blood pressure with the heart being the organ implicated. However, this week we would be talking about stress and ulcer which is stress in relations to the gastro-intestinal tract.
Studies show that stress does not cause ulcer but rather makes it worse. Today’s discussion would be in four different outlines which are:
Last week, we talked about cortisol a hormone released during stress. This hormone does not only have its effect limited to the heart, it still has its power efficacious in ulcerative conditions. Cortisol stimulates gastric acid secretion which can irritate the lining of the gastro-intestinal tract. These higher amounts of acid produced can exacerbate pre-existing ulcerative conditions.
“Emotional arousal which is associated with increased cortisol production causes increased acid and pepsin secretion. Also, chronic life stressors predispose to duodenal ulcer presumably by symptomatic anxiety or depression” (Tennant C Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 1998)
PG Production and Ulcer
I Know what is on your mind is, “What is PG”?
Okay, let us settle that before I continue. PG is prostaglandins and they are chemical compounds that protect the stomach mucosa against injury by gastric mucus though they do not reduce gastric acid.
The importance of prostaglandin, a cytoprotectant cannot be overemphasized. However, stress again depletes prostaglandin production thereby reducing the protection the stomach receives and thus worsens ulcer and slows its healing.
Please do not be like,”She has come again with these big biological words”. I would break it down my dear friends.
The dopaminergic system comprises dopamine, an endogenous catecholamine which plays a key role in the control of locomotion, learning, working, memory, cognition and emotion. This system is involved in various neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.
Enough of this man called ‘DOPAMINERGIC SYSTEM’.
Dopaminergic system is also known to play regulatory role in gastric ulcers under various stressful conditions.
The critically-ill and Ulcer.
Severe stress like that experienced by patients with serious burns or critically illness in intensive care units create a very high risk for the development of specific stress ulcers of the stomach known as Cushing’S and Curling’s ulcers respectively. Acute stress is thought to increase ulcers by reducing blood flow to the stomach.
Conclusively, because stress seems to have variable effects on gastric motility: delayed gastric emptying, which could increase the risk of gastric ulcer while accelerated emptying could increase the net acid delivered to the duodenum at any given level of gastric secretion thereby enhancing the risk the risk of duodenal ulcer.
Stress does not accelerate the healing process of ulcers. So, if you have ulcer, sure you want it to get healed as soon as possible. Then, you could help yourself by reducing stressors. Just try any relaxation technique suitable for you and you would see the difference it makes in the healing process of that gastric ulcer.
I am signing out this week by saying, do have a relaxed week ahead. Try to balance every stress you are exposed to with proportional relaxation”.
See you next week on this page. Bye for now.
- STRESS AND PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE (1999): AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Susan L, Sigurd A et al
- ADVANCES IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES; VOLUME 12 ARTICLE ID 182671 PAGES 2,3, 14 &15