Caregiver Stress-Take Care of Your Gut

by Jessica Petrucci

Being a caregiver to a parent, spouse, family member, or friend can have an impact on physical health. It has been suggested that being a caregiver can be harmful to mental health, but research is now finding that caregiving can also have a serious impact on physical health. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, those caring for a spouse are more likely to report having decreased health over all other caregiver relationships. There are variables that are likely to increase physical strain on caregivers, such as providing care for over a year, being over the age of 65, caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, and living with the care recipient. (1)

While being a caregiver may be rewarding, it is almost always emotionally tiring. Caring for someone can cause exhaustion, sadness, frustration, loneliness, and anger. Mayo Clinic found that people experiencing caregiver stress can be vulnerable to changes in their own health, such as experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Also, because caregivers often lack sleep and physical activity, they are at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. (2)

For caregivers, stress management is crucial. Stress has a negative impact on your entire body, especially your gut. Gut health is sensitive to stress and stress mediators. Data suggests that stress creates an unbalanced gut environment, which then may cause anxiety and depression. (3) The interaction of psychological factors such as stress and altered gut physiology due to stress lays the framework for gastrointestinal disorders. 

While taking care of loved ones is important, the personal health of the caregiver should not be ignored. If you are concerned that stress is affecting your life, you can learn more about gut health and how to manage stress at

About the Author

Photo: Jessica Petrucci

Jessica Petrucci has a background in biotechnology and is a certified yoga instructor. As a collegiate athlete, fitness has always been an important part of Jessica’s life. She takes a holistic approach to health, encompassing mind, body, and spirit. Coming from a place of personal experience, Jessica has seen how lifestyle and stress can take a toll on gut health and overall wellness. She strives to help others realize that, by living a well-balanced lifestyle, they can be the best and healthiest versions of themselves.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Interested in learning more about Ixcela? Check out Ixcela’s microbiome test, personalized nutrition and fitness plans, and other tools to help you optimize your health.