Danny Roddy‘s most recent blog, Becoming Stressproof Part II: The symptoms of stress (Bad sex, worse digestion, and shitty depression), is awesome. I am in love with this post for two reasons: 1) I have experienced everything he discusses due to an elevated state of stress hormones that involved my internal environment (digestion, elimination) and my external environment (work, relationship, family) – from low sex drive to extremely poor digestion to yo-yo weight gain and weight loss to unexplained anxiety to bouts of depression to a low immune system to extreme fatigue – and 2) Stress is something not to be overlooked or written off as just a daily part of mental life that defines a person on “how they can handle it”… it’s very real on a hormonal level which can directly correlate to mental and emotional stress and uncontrollable personality shifts.
Around 60-80% of our hormones are produced within the intestinal tract, specifically the small intestine, which also houses the intestinal bacteria and is the main site for nutrient absorption. Consider this: if you have an gut imbalance (by “gut” I am referring to all of the digestion and elimination organs) and the body cannot properly digest, absorb, assimilate, or eliminate due to the imbalance… don’t you think it’s possible (keeping in mind that hormones are being produced/regulated/limited within the imbalanced environment) for that imbalance to translate into mental and emotional shifts, i.e. an imbalance in personality, mood, thoughts, ideas, stress-coping-ability and overall non-physical health?
I think personality “disorders” (depression, anxiety, anger, stressed, tension, impatience, nervousness, timidness, scared, suicidal, etc.), metabolic disorders (diabetes, insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc.), digestive disorders (lactose intolerance, food allergy, food intolerance, etc.) are symptoms to a greater cause and, for the sake of this post, many are caused by a stress-hormone response that can very-well begin and end with an awareness of what up-regulates or down-regulates a stress hormone reaction.
Roddy highlights Bad Sex, Worse Digestion, and Shitty Depression as three [of the many] consequences of elevated stress hormones. The body’s sex drive will cease to exist in a state of stress (high estrogen, high serotonin, high adrenaline, high cortisol) mainly because procreation is absolutely last on the list when the body finds itself in survival mode (stress, lack of calories, lack of carbohydrates, digestive disturbances, over-exercise, etc.). If you’re running from a lion it’s almost unfathomable to get it up… now transpose that high-stress state the body experiences when running for its life into every day life and no sex for you. Worse Digestion can translate into a few things: loss of appetite (because who thinks of food when they’re stressed or sad), irregular hormone output (hinting on what I mentioned earlier), and a low immune system from stress to allow bacteria, fungi, pathogens, and parasites into the digestive tract, thus causing a whole new set of problems (yet still a symptom to a greater cause). And, last but not lease, Depression will surely result because of all of these imbalances – happiness is hard to come by if you’re constipated, dehydrated, malnourished, and cannot get aroused no matter how much your significant other dances naked around you.
The body is a system of systems. If you system is out-of-order, chances are the other systems will follow suit. Your digestion, your detoxification, your elimination, your muscles, your bones, your emotions, your intelligence, your personality, your happiness… are all systems. If you have a low sex drive, have poor digestion, and are depressed… take a look at your systems and the other symptoms that may be present within your body and mind to find its true cause.
Take some time to read Roddy’s blog (along with everything else on his website) to gain some more insight.