As hackneyed as it may sound, it’s okay to cry. But why do we cry and how does our body react to it?
Almost every person has cried at least once in their life. We tend to shed tears over sad films when we are ashamed or even happy. The human body reacts with tears to many stimuli. All these are different types of crying, in which the same processes occur inside our body.
Why are we crying
There are three main groups of reasons:
- Emotional reasons: we cry to feel relief. Tears help relieve tension, and they give us some relief. Many people feel better after crying.
- Social reasons: we cry to convey emotions. Crying helps us let others know how we feel right now. Tears can convey hatred, anger, joy, sincerity, love.
- Physical reasons: we cry to deliver the necessary substances to our eyes or to wash out toxins. Oxygen and nutrients get to the surface of the eyes, where there are no blood vessels, through tears.
What happens when we cry
The process of crying is not as simple as it may seem. Here are its main stages:
- The lacrimal glands located above the eyes are responsible for the production of tears. They produce tears from blood plasma.
- After discharge, the lacrimal fluid circulates through the eye and accumulates in the lacrimal lake located in the inner corner of the eye.
- From there, tears flow into the holes on the inner corners of the upper and lower eyelids.
- Through them, tears enter the channels, where they move into the lacrimal sac.
- Then the tears pass through the nasolacrimal duct and drain into the nose.
- There, the tears either evaporate or are reabsorbed.
Various infections, swelling, injuries or tumors can cause a blockage of the tear duct. Sometimes babies are born with a blocked tear duct. But usually this condition passes by itself.
Surging emotions or physical causes induce the production of tears in large quantities. They overflow the lacrimal system and flow out of the eyes. With age, the production of tears slows down, which can lead to the development of dry eyes.