Stomach aches are no fun to experience, but in addition to feeling uncomfortable and making you stress about what you eat, they can also impact your wellbeing in ways you may not have imagined. There are a number of surprising ways digestive issues can affect the rest of your health, from your mood and even to your skin. Your body is more intertwined than your realize, and if it’s not breaking down your food correctly, it’s going to have an effect on other aspects of your mental and physical health.
“Digestion is one of the most important physiological functions of the body,” gastroenterologist Ashkan Farhadi, MD, tells Bustle. “As a prerequisite of absorption, digestion prepares the food to be transported across the body boundaries in our gut. Without digestion, our body cannot access nutrients that we consume and we will be starved.”
As more research comes out, we are starting to learn how digestion affects more than just your gastrointestinal health. Your gut serves as a communication center for the brain, which is why it can affect other important health functions such as mental health. If you’re suffering from digestive problems, it can have body-wide effects. Here are six surprising ways digestive issues can affect other parts of your health, according to experts.
1It Can Ruin Your Mood
“The problem with food digestion is that it does not stay isolated as gastrointestinal symptoms,” Dr. Farhadi says. “The lack of proper digestion can not only result in irritability, lack of energy and weakness, it may also affect our mood and overall sense of happiness.” In fact, research out of the journal Annals of Gastroenterologyhas found a link between gastrointestinal disease and psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.