According to the Mayo Clinic, bacteria commonly live in the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Often, this bacteria causes no problems, but when the protective layer of the stomach wears thin, this bacteria begins to cause inflammation. Over time, an ulcer could develop and if left untreated, the ulcer could get worse and bleed, creating more serious problems.
Drinking and smoking
Long-term tobacco smoking and excess alcohol can also lead to ulcers. This is because both alcohol and the chemicals in cigarette smoke are known to irritate your stomach lining and reduce the protective barrier of the stomach, exposing it to more gastric acid.
Stress is a factor in digestive health. Although medical experts might not agree about exactly what high stress does to a person’s body, they all agree that chronic high stress without stress management changes body chemistry.
Recent studies into the role of beneficial intestinal bacteria (and the resulting rise in products in the global marketplace designed to boost beneficial bacteria, like kimchi and kombucha) shows that there is a growing interest in discovering the direct relationship between chronic stress and intestinal disease.
Experts claim that stress affects the chemical composition of the gut and can cause the beneficial bacteria counts to become so low that harmful bacteria multiply. This disruption upsets the microbiota balance and creates increased susceptibility to pathogens, which in turn can cause ulcers to develop.
Poor nutrition combined with chronic exposure to high levels of stress such as a job with a toxic environment, an unhealthy relationship, etc may lead to the development of a variety of gastrointestinal diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even food allergies.
You’ve probably seen this happen in your own life on at least a small scale. Changes in your life like moving to a new place or even going on a long vacation can interrupt digestive health. You may also have already done some online research about how psychological stress slows normal small intestinal transit time, encourages overgrowth of bacteria, and can compromise the intestinal protective mucus barrier.
Life can be stressful, that’s a certainty. Stress on the body isn’t always negative also; even happy times can cause us to eat and digest food differently. Chronic negative stress is what really plays a role in the development of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and leaky gut syndrome. That’s why part of any professional medical treatment plan should include suggestions for the healthy management of life challenges through regular exercise, making time for relaxation and recreation, and healthy relationships.