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BIEN-ETRE Listen to your body and understand the signals it sends


9min reading time

“Listen to your body when it whispers and you won’t have to hear it scream.”

This is what Tibetan wisdom reminds us: the body communicates with us by sending us a set of small signals that we must know how to detect, because they can reveal or precede deeper ailments. Except that, caught up in our daily lives, we often tend not to pay attention to them, or even to repress them... until the body "screams" and the problems or illnesses take hold.

Here we come back to the most common information that your body sends you, to help you identify and understand it: headaches, skin problems, hair loss, irregular bowel movements, fatigue and eyelid twitching.

Headaches (or headaches, in the jargon)

Headache is one of the most common sources of discomfort , but the origins of which are still poorly understood. They can be caused by a wide variety of factors . The good news is that in most cases, they do not indicate a serious or dangerous illness, even if they cause sometimes heavy discomfort. There are four main types:

  • The most common headaches are tension headaches , which cause oppressive and constant pain in the forehead and neck area, with a feeling of pressure on both sides of the head. This type of pain lasts on average 24 hours and is not worrying. It could come from stress.
  • Migraine is a more serious condition, which is characterized by throbbing pain (feeling of small beats). It does not always appear alone: ​​nausea, vomiting, hypersensitivity to noise or light can be present. Migraines often appear on one side of the head. They can last several days and become unbearable. The causes can be diverse: wrong foods ingested, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, stress, strong odors... but migraines can also be vascular, that is to say linked to the shape and functioning of blood vessels.
  • Other headaches may appear in the neck or even the jaw. Specialists speak of cervicogenic headaches . Their cause is often prolonged poor posture , causing tension. When they tell you to stand up straight ;)
  • When you have inflammation of the sinuses, pain in the head and face can also appear (these are sinus headaches : a somewhat barbaric name but ultimately logical).

Still other factors may be involved: a recurring headache may be the first symptom of certain major illnesses. Not to be ignored, therefore.

Skin reactions (skin conditions)

The skin is our first line of defense , the one that protects our body from the outside world. For the record, each of us has approximately 2m² of skin, made up of 5 million sensory cells. These are all sensors that serve as receptacles for all sensations: heat, cold, pain, softness, etc.

Rashes and other itching are very common phenomena that affect millions of people. They can appear in very different forms: redness, plaques, scales, pustules, scabs... Here we come back to 3 common skin conditions .

  • Acne is a skin disease that can be recognized by the eruption of red pimples, blackheads and cysts that characterize it. It most often affects the face and thorax, but also the back and torso. It is often due to an unbalanced diet (too rich in sugar and fat in particular) or to hormonal fluctuations. Overwork and stress can also be to blame. Pollution and tobacco are aggravating factors.
  • Eczema is characterized by red patches that typically appear in the creases of the elbows or knees, on the cheeks, neck, wrists or ankles, and which tend to appear cyclically. These patches are accompanied by a sometimes very strong desire to scratch. The exact causes of eczema are unknown but certain factors can explain its appearance: genetics, allergens such as pollen or dust mites, but also stress, perspiration, friction and everyday products (detergent, perfumes, soaps). ). But contrary to popular belief, eczema is not a hygiene problem.
  • Psoriasis is a chronic disease characterized by red inflammation of the skin, topped by numerous and thick scales (fine sheets of dead skin). This disease can affect any part of the body but most often affects the elbows, knees, lumbar region, scalp and legs. The causes can be genetic, immune, environmental but psoriasis can also be triggered by fatigue, stress or emotional shock.

Also note that in recent years, the psychological origins of skin problems have been increasingly highlighted. It is common today to consider that outbreaks of psoriasis, herpes, eczema or acne are caused by stress and annoyance.

According to Doctor Danièle Pomey-Rey, dermatologist and psychoanalyst at Saint-Louis hospital in Paris, 80% of skin diseases have a psychological origin: "Anyone who suffers from it is someone who has a lot of things to say, but who does not succeed. He then speaks with his skin". The skin and emotions are intimately linked. The skin is the junction between “the inside and the outside” and therefore the privileged place of emotional expression. The reasons for this interaction between the brain and the skin could come from the fact that they are formed at the same time, on the 21st day of embryo development (a little anecdote to bring out at your next dinner).

Hair loss

The average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day. Given the total number of hairs on our scalp (around 150,000), it is difficult to detect their disappearance. However , excessive hair loss is a signal to be noticed. Its causes are multiple, mainly in women. Try to identify the cause of your hair loss to act effectively:

  • Hormonal changes are among the most common causes, whether related to pregnancy and childbirth, menopause or endocrine disorders. Likewise, aging leads to a decrease in the production of hormones, including estrogen, which is linked to hair health.
  • Stress , like fatigue, overwork and emotional shock, is another cause of hair loss. When our body is faced with stress, it goes into survival mode and reallocates resources from functions that are not essential, like growing hair and nails. This stress causes the hair follicles to no longer function and thus prevents hair growth. Hair loss can cause further trauma to the self-image that we reflect to others. We touch on the identity position of the individual, a situation responsible for additional stress. We are then in a vicious circle.
  • During seasonal changes , especially early fall and spring, the natural phenomenon of hair loss can be more significant than the rest of the year. This is seasonal hair loss. Our hair is sensitive to environmental changes. They influence the rhythm and speed of the hair renewal cycle, which can then fall out in greater numbers.
  • Vitamins and minerals play a fundamental role in the normal hair cycle, particularly in the renewal of follicular bulb cells and their rapid rate of division. Dietary deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can also disrupt hair synthesis, cause brittleness and cause hair loss.
  • Certain skin diseases such as psoriasis, lesions or scars can also cause hair loss or lack of regrowth. A healthy scalp is very important for hair growth: without a clean and healthy environment in which to grow, hair will quickly lose its shine, become weak and damaged. Likewise, oily dandruff can suffocate the hair follicle by accumulating on the scalp and contribute to hair loss.
  • Hair loss can also be a side effect following medical treatments , such as chemotherapy or taking certain medications. However, in most cases this is temporary hair loss.

Unregulated intestinal transit

Intestinal transit disorders are manifested by problems of constipation or diarrhea but also by bloating , abdominal pain , nausea , stomach cramps . If this can reassure you, you are not alone! Digestive disorders affect around 60% of the population.

In the majority of cases, these disorders are benign and come from our modern lifestyles: stress, anxiety, low water consumption, an unbalanced diet, insufficient physical activity, taking antibiotics, diets. excessively strict slimming, smoking, etc. can alter the proper functioning of our digestive system and cause occasional problems.

These disorders can also be caused by diseases such as Crohn's disease , diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome , or even by a tumor. These signals should therefore not be taken lightly. Learn to listen to your body and improve your lifestyle. You can also take a course of probiotics to take care of your microbiota and promote good transit.

Nervous fatigue

Nervous fatigue is a physical and psychological exhaustion that should not be neglected. It can lead to more serious pathologies such as depression or burn-out .

A lack of consideration at work, a significant mental load, overwork and permanent stress can be the cause.

The people affected present severe physical fatigue, sleep problems, concentration problems, immune weakness and hyper-emotionality with disproportionate reactions. When you reach a certain stage of fatigue, the brain no longer sends the right signals. It will produce phenomena of nervous excitement which will push us to more activity, and prevent us from having restful sleep. It's a vicious circle, because fatigue fuels nervousness, and this in turn fuels lack of sleep.

This nervous fatigue occurs when we have not listened to our own long-term needs. It is an alarm bell sounded by our body and our mind to change things in our lives. Before exhaustion, the body certainly sent other signals that were not taken into account.

Eyelid tremors (fasciculations)

A little last one for the road: the pulsations of the eyelids . Having a twitching eyelid has happened to all of us. The twitching of the eyelid comes from the involuntary contraction of the muscles in the area, giving the sensation of having eye spasms. The phenomenon only affects one eye at a time: we have the “popping eye”.

The causes of eyelid twitching can be multiple but, in general, it is fatigue that causes them. Stress, dry or tired eyes, lack of magnesium, too intense physical activity and prolonged exposure to screens are sources that can cause this reaction.

These episodes of brief eyelid pulsations are most often fleeting and benign. But in very rare cases, they can be a sign of a more serious illness.

There is no medical treatment but it is possible to act by eliminating the risk factors likely to trigger this symptom.

You understand: being attentive to your own sensations, which are so many messages (and sometimes even alarm signals) sent by the body, must be part of a well-being routine.

If you've made it this far, we congratulate you! And we take this opportunity to remind you that once the symptoms and signs are detected, and if they do not stop, we recommend that you go to a practitioner. We're not going to tell you all the grandmother's proverbs like "You can never be too careful" and "Prevention is better than cure", but you get the idea: our grandmothers are often right.

Solène Senejko

Ingénieure Alimentation & Santé