Soaring stress levels can have a terrible impact on our digestive system. Our emotions and our digestive functions are tightly interwoven because when we are anxious our body releases adrenaline. This is the 'fight or flight' hormone that prepares us for action. But it also diverts the blood supply away from our stomach and towards the heart and lungs, which means we effectively shut down our digestive system. This is helpful when our body wants to divert all energy to dealing with the crisis. But, it also means we do not produce enough digestive enzymes to help our food travel through the digestive tract. We end up feeling bloated, often with painful cramps and inflammation of the gut wall. For women, this can be exacerbated by changes in female hormone levels. And, of course, lifestyle and diet can play a big part. Lack of sleep or too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can play havoc. So, if you find yourself with stomach aches, bloating or cramping, check your stress levels. Finding healthy, effective ways to deal with stress can help reduce and possibly even eliminate tummy trouble.