One of the many possible symptoms you may face with Fibromyalgia, is a slower than average digestion process.
When food is eaten, muscles in the stomach go to work in order to push the food through the upper intestines into the lower. There is a nerve that connects the brain stem to the body called the ‘vagus nerve’.
This nerve forms a part of the ‘involuntary nervous system’, and regulates unconscious functions within the body, such as heart rate and digestion.
If you remember from this previous post describing the two different parts of the nervous system, and they’re effects on the body with Fibromyalgia, the ‘sympathetic’ nervous system is running on overdrive, causing the ‘unsympathetic’ nervous system to function sluggishly.
The reason for the unbalance between the two nervous system functions, could be because in Fibromyalgia, the vagus nerve is compromised. Certain conditions may be causing the vagus nerve to send signals to the brain that there are conditions present to warrant an increase in pain signals, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME.
So, needless to say, when the vagus nerve is malfunctioning, digestion issues can arise. One of these is called gastroparesis. Due to the stomach muscles not working properly (and remember FMS targets muscles, so why not those in the stomach?), food will sit in the upper intestine fermenting and digesting at a snail’s pace.
So, what does this all mean? Well, it means if like me, you feel full on a scant bit of food, burp your way through the day and night, experience bouts of nausea after eating, and have the feeling that your last meal is still stuck in the mid-ribcage region of your chest, you may be dealing with slow digestion.
~ 3 Easy Step To Aid In Slow Digestion ~
1. Never eat until you feel clear hunger signals. Learn to listen to the messages your body sends you. You will feel a ‘tightening’ of the stomach muscles, and a ‘rumble’ in your belly. You may think it’s easier to overeat when you are hungry, but the truth is, when you start on ’empty’, you will be able to better recognize when the brain sends ‘fullness’ signals to let you know the body has had enough food and to STOP eating. Keep in mind, it takes approx. 20 min. for brain to send the satiated message, so, ‘Slow As You Go’!
2. Chew, Chew, Chew… Make sure to ‘overchew’ your food. This is the beginning of the digestive process, so it is imperative to not have unchewed pieces of food entering into the upper intestine.
3. Take Small Bites. This helps you to slow down when you eat, which will in turn help with the above tip. It’s easier to chew properly when there is less food in your mouth. Try to also put the fork down between bites.
Providing your digestive issues are not severe enough for medication or surgery, these tips should go a long way in taking your digestion from ‘sloth-like’ to ‘cheetah-fast’.