How stress can help or hurt your IBD - Aspire Natural Health

How stress can help or hurt your IBD

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In this Episode Dr. Gerstmar discusses:
-The importance of diet for health and IBD, but…
-How it’s important not to solely focus on diet
-How stress impacts IBD – UC or Crohn’s disease
-Two examples of people who were hurt or helped by their stress levels


Hey Folks,

It’s Dr. Gerstmar from Aspire Natural Health

And in this quick video I want to talk to you about stress and IBD – UC and Crohn’s.

At Aspire Natural Health we help people with digestive issues and autoimmunity, and IBD lands squarely in both those camps. Over the years we’ve been able to help a lot of people with IBD.

We tend to start their care with diet changes, as we’ve found that 8-9 out of every 10 people see positive changes in their IBD by changing their diet. 20-30% of people can see massive changes in their IBD, up to and including remission, just by changing their diet, so that is fantastic!

However, it’s common in the holistic medical world to get a little too fixated on diet, both for people having issues and for doctors trying to help them.

Diet is very important. You can’t be healthy long-term if you’re not eating a diet that works for you.

But, just eating an appropriate diet, for most people, isn’t enough. And we often see people and practitioners looking to tweak their diet just a little bit more, or take out one more food in the hopes that it’s the magic piece that will resolve their issues. And sometimes that works, but often we find it doesn’t.

Diet is important, but we need to not get too focused on diet. Two other major factors that affect IBD (and health in general) are sleep and stress.

We’re going to focus on stress today.

Stress alone is enough to flare IBD, or to improve it.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

John (not his real name) had long-standing IBD when he came to see us that was moderately controlled with drugs, but he was tired of doing prednisone tapers several times a year and concerned about long-term side effects.

Over about 6 months we got John feeling much better and his IBD was fully under control with diet, lifestyle, and some nutrient and herbal supplementation. John was doing great.

Then work got in the way. John was transferred to a different team, where he didn’t get along with his coworkers and his workload increased pretty dramatically.

In pretty short order, despite sticking to the diet and the supplement regimen that had worked for him he began to go into a flare.

Thankfully he came to us and we were able to get it under control without having to go to prednisone again. We were able to put some stress management practices in place that helped, and ultimately John negotiated a move to a different team that worked much better for him, and our story has a happy ending.

But the point is that stress alone, even when someone is eating a good diet and doing things that are working for them, can cause IBD to flare.

On the other hand, Anaya (also not her real name) also had IBD and had just started working with us. Her IBD was moderately under control as we hadn’t had time to fully dial in her treatments.

She and her partner went on an awesome 2 week vacation. Anaya was a diligent person and despite being on vacation stayed on her therapeutic diet 95% of the time and kept taking her supplements. What changed was her stress levels. And she found that within a few days, as she decompressed and her stress levels dropped, her IBD improved pretty significantly. When she returned back to work, and stress, she found that her IBD flared up again.

So there you have it…

Stress alone can significantly impact IBD – either making it worse, or making it better.

Stress management is one of the most individualized treatments around. After all, for some people meditation is wonderfully calming, and for other people it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

Things like gratitude, reframing, deep breathing, and nature exposure work well for most people, but we each need to find what helps us to manage our stress and de-stress.

The first step is simply awareness, and now, you have that.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease, I’d like to offer you the Guide we’ve put together on how we treat IBD here at Aspire Natural Health, all you need to do is click the button below and fill out the short form, and we’ll happily send that to you for FREE. So please, click down below.

At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at treating digestive issues and autoimmune diseases. If that’s you, we’d love to connect.

We offer a no-obligation no-pressure chat to see if we can help you, and if we’re the right fit to work together.

If we are, we’ll move forward, and if we’re not, we’ll do our best to connect you with the person who can best help you.

You have nothing to lose, so call us now at 425-202-7849 or email us at

Until next time folks…Take care!


At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.

Are you looking for help?

Email us at or call us at 425-202-7849.

The first step of our process is to see if we’re a good fit for one another. If we are, we’ll talk about next steps. If not, that’s okay, and we’ll do our best to help you find the right person.

Everything is no-obligation and no-pressure, so you don’t have to worry. You have nothing to lose!

Call us at 425-202-7849 or email us now!

    Another interesting post:

Does diet affect IBD (UC and Crohn’s)?

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