Being a Police Officer or First Responder and having stomach issues is not a good mix.
For many it starts with a bit of indigestion and gas. Unfortunately for many, more time on the job means your digestive issues get worse. It becomes difficult to focus and embarrassing when your stomach starts to grumble on a call, or while tending to a patient.
It’s impossible to focus
Your focus is taken away from the matters at hand as you start wondering how bad it’s going to get this time. You avoided eating certain foods because of the payback, but obviously something you ate is affecting you. Then you start praying that your gas (that can clear a room) will stay at bay long enough for you to get out in to open air. You start thinking of an exit plan in case you need to run to the washroom even though you know you can not leave. How many of you have had to use your sick leave because you can’t leave the bathroom.
Stress and digestive issues are linked.
Driving to work and putting on your uniform elicits a certain amount of stress as you mentally prepare for whatever may happen on shift. Over time, the beginning stages of a digestive issue start creeping in which are often gas, indigestion or heartburn.
As soon as an officer tells me about severe digestive issues we track back to when it started or something that happened a year or so prior. Not always, but quite often there was a significant stressor at that time. A case that really affected them and one that they still think of today.
It may sound like a coincidence . . .
I know, this sounds like a coincidence. But for those of you who know me, you know that everything I teach and practice is all based on science. So I am going to geek out for a second and explain why this happens.
There is a nerve that runs from your brain all the way through your body. It’s called the Vagus nerve. This nerve is responsible for turning on and off your stress responses in your body.
When you are stressed a hormone is released that tells your body to prepare for battle. This hormone sent to the vagus nerve sends strong signals to your blood to start pumping to your arms and legs so you have power and energy. Meanwhile, organs that are not needed to fight such as stomach, colon, liver, kidneys are slowed down with less blood flow and nerve activity. Over time this causes a lot of digestive issues and imbalances. Food doesn’t break down as well as it needs to and things stop flowing the way they should.
The off switch
A big part of my Shift Work Cure program is teaching ways to turn off your fight or flight system. Learning to stimulate that vagus nerve in order to turn on your rest and digest system.
If you want a quick start read how in this blog, Change Your Day From Overwhelm To Calm In 3 Minutes.
Digestive issues and other stress related symptoms – Tired and wired, exhaustion, anger, anxiety, depression and more can all be reversed. If you would like to learn how, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get a solid sleep, wake with energy, calm your anger and your stomach by reversing your burnout so you can enjoy your time with your family and thrive in your career.