Effects Of Stress And Anxiety On Your Stomach
Stress and anxiety can trigger lots of different symptoms, in your mind and also on the rest of your body. Stress, for example can cause headaches, chest pain and problems concentrating. And anxiety can cause things like feeling nervous, sweating and problems sleeping.
But both stress and anxiety can also impact your gut. Experiencing a stressful situation can cause short-term problems in the digestive system, including:
In addition, you might find that stress affects your appetite, causing you to eat more or less than you would normally.
Could The Relationship Between Your Anxiety And Stomach Issues Be The Other Way Around
Just like how our brain can communicate with our gut, our gut can communicate with our brain. Evidence has shown that your stomach pain or other gastrointestinal symptoms may be contributing to your feelings of anxiety.
It is believed that gut bacteria can impact the parts of our brain that manage stress and emotional behavior. So, an imbalance of our microbiome can influence stress-related behaviors such as anxiety. This can then begin a vicious cycle where anxiety about stomach pain causes the stomach pain to stick around as a symptom of anxiety.
Should I See A Doctor If I Get Stomach Pains When I Am Stressed
You should be seeing your primary care physician at least once a year, and you should tell them if you often have stomach pain or GI discomfort.
If your primary care physician identifies symptoms of a chronic GI condition or other warning signs, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist like myself. A gastroenterologist can help determine if your stomach pain or GI symptoms are related to stress, or due to another condition that requires different treatment.
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Anxious Stomach: Overview Causes And How To Get Rid Of It
At some point in your life, you have likely experienced some level of anxiety about a stressful situation. You might have also noticed that sometimes, anxious symptoms appear in your stomach.
Feeling anxious in your stomach can include having what feels like butterflies or knots. These usually subside relatively quickly once the stressful situation, such as a job interview, is removed.
However, anxiety can also cause more unpleasant and painful symptoms in your stomach. These could include:
Changes to your appetite
These symptoms may be more persistent, remaining even after whats causing your anxiety is gone. If you experience this regularly, it is important to try and get on top of it as soon as possible, as it can lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
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Anxiety And Acute Stress Reaction
The anxiety and acute stress reaction can be triggered by a variety of stimuli. These reactions are caused by the release of adrenaline in the human body.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but it becomes dangerous when its a chronic problem. It can lead to mental and physical health problems, such as high blood pressure or digestive issues. Anxiety is often the root cause of prolonged stress because it causes people to worry about events they cannot control or anticipate.
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Symptoms Of Gerd And Anxiety
GERD and anxiety can cause a number of different symptoms, though there are a few that both conditions seem to have in common.
GI issues, such as heartburn, nausea, and stomach pain are common symptoms of both conditions. Another symptom common in both is globus sensation, which is the painless feeling of a lump in your throat or a tightening or choking sensation.
People who experience globus sensation also often have hoarseness, a chronic cough, or a persistent need to clear their throat, which are also common symptoms caused by GERD and acid reflux.
Disrupted sleep is also a common symptom of both conditions. Acid reflux may be worse when lying down, which can cause you to wake up often. Anxiety affects your sleep pattern and can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Other symptoms of GERD include:
- regurgitation of sour liquid or food
Other symptoms of anxiety include:
- feeling restless or nervous
- a sense of impending doom or danger
- rapid heartrate
- difficulty controlling worry
- chest tightening or pain
Both conditions can cause chest pain and other symptoms that are also symptoms of a heart attack. Call 911 if you have chest pain, especially if it is accompanied by shortness of breath or arm or jaw pain.
Treating GERD and anxiety may require a combination of medications for both conditions, though acid-suppressing drugs commonly used to treat GERD have been found to be less effective in people whose symptoms are related to anxiety.
Can Anxiety Cause Weird Body Sensations
Anxiety makes your body to start preparing for danger. This preparation can cause many sensations in our bodies and our bodies react to the stress.
Some people might have an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, nausea, or even a headache. These symptoms are all related to anxiety and how it can make you feel physically uncomfortable.
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How To Control Your Anxiety Upset Stomach
Stomach upset can really put a damper on your ability to live a happy life. Ideally, youâll need to treat your anxiety to experience a calmer stomach.
Even though anxiety is causing your stomach to feel sick, many of the symptoms can be reduced with various medications. You should always consult with a doctor before taking medication and do not want to rely on medication to cure your upset stomach. However, many people have had success with basic medications that calm the stomach. Common examples include:
Eating healthier can also help. Remember that your anxiety is affecting your gut, but itâs not causing the symptoms all on its own. Whatâs in your stomach has an effect on the severity of the symptoms as well. Eating healthier â especially on days you expect to experience anxiety â can be very helpful. Drinking water may also be useful since water is gentle on the stomach.
You may also try distracting yourself. While your upset stomach may be severe, anxiety causes a tendency to focus on the experience, which causes further anxiety and exacerbates the severity of the stomach pain. A positive distraction, like a funny TV show, can actually make a big difference in the way you experience your upset stomach.
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Stomach Ache And Pain
Stress-induced trapped wind and tense muscles can cause a belly ache, as all those tense muscles squeeze the tummy. This is going to hurt if you have been gulping air and you are full of wind.
- Have a lie down to release the burps. The oesophagus joins the stomach a little to the left of our middle. The stomach lies on our left side and there is a gentle curve where it meets the gullet. When you lie on your left side the air can escape more easily cool tip eh!
- Avoid foods that make you gassy. Chew your food and don’t rush
- Relax and breathe slowly, try not to gulp air when you are nervous.
Please see your GP or practitioner if you have stomach issues that are not responding to home remedies or over the counter remedies.
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Types Of Anxiety Bowel Problems
Your entire digestive tract is incredibly complex. There are plenty of medical issues some common, some more serious that can alter the health and behavior of the bowels, and lead to discomforts, wet stools, constipation, pain, and many other symptoms. From poor diet to illness, the bowels are often the place affected by a host of medical conditions.
There are also many bowel issues that can relate back to stress and anxiety as well. But what is interesting about bowel issues from anxiety is that they are related in a number of ways, some of which may not even yet be clear.
Below is a quick breakdown of some of the bowel problems that those with anxiety may struggle with. While it is not a comprehensive list, the bowel issues below are some of the most common reported issues and the ones that you or someone you care about may experience if they struggle from anxiety and stress related issues.
How To Improve Anxiety Digestion
Much of your digestive issues are the result of problems that you simply cannot control if you have anxiety. Anxiety will always affect digestion on a cellular and chemical level, turning down your brain in favor of your anxiety symptoms. So if you still suffer from anxiety, youâre likely going to suffer from indigestion. But there are a few tips that can help:
- Eat Easy to Digest Foods Digestion is still digestion. Even though your body is creating the digestive problems, the foods you eat are going to contribute to the effects of those digestive issues. So make sure youâre eating healthy foods that are easy to digest, and avoiding fried foods and anything that may make it even harder for your body to operate.
- Donât Avoid Sleep Not all sleep problems are going to be your fault. If you have anxiety, you may find that it keeps you awake. But if you have the opportunity to sleep, donât turn it down. Try your best to always get a full nightâs sleep to ensure that your body is operating well.
- Jog Exercise seems to also have an effect on digestion. It may be the anxiety-lowering qualities. Jogging is actually an incredibly effective tool for dealing with stress. But exercise in general appears to have some benefit on improving your ability to digest food. So make sure youâre exercising regularly to help you find relief.
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Higher Cortisol Levels Linked To Abdominal Obesity
Higher long-term cortisol levels are strongly related to having abdominal obesity, according to a 2018 review study.
However, not all people with obesity have high cortisol levels. Researchers suggest genetics may play a role in glucocorticoid sensitivity.
Short-term stress can cause belly issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome can be the result of long-term stress. If you already have IBS, stress can worsen gas and belly bloat.
There are two types of belly fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
What Is A Nervous Stomach
A nervous stomach is caused by your emotions affecting your body. When doctors see that someone is experiencing nausea and stomach pain with no related gastrointestinal issue, they often relate it to a nervous stomach.
Everyone feels the effects of stress and anxiety differently, and it is not uncommon for it to trigger symptoms like abdominal cramps that make you feel sick to your stomach.
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How Can You Relieve Stress
There isnt much that we can do to completely eliminate every stressor in our lives but there is plenty that you can do to manage your stress more effectively and relieve digestive symptoms, such as taking natural remedies and supplements.
The best treatments and solutions depend on the root cause of your stress and the specific symptoms that youre experiencing. However, there are some general things that will help almost anybody who suffers from stress-related bloating, including those that we have covered below.
Can Anxiety Cause Stomach And Bowel Problems
If youre feeling nervous and having some stomach pains, there usually isnt anything to worry about. Gastrointestinal discomfort is among the most common physical symptoms associated with anxiety, so that knot in your stomach shouldnt be a reason to add any extra stress to your plate.
However, if your stomach pains dont subside after the anxieties are gone, you should consider to see if you would benefit from having a consultation with a gastroenterologista doctor whose specialty is treating the GI tract and liver.
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Anxiety & Depression Worsen Quality Of Life Of Gerd Patients
GERD patients with depression and/or anxiety tend to experience greater symptoms and lower quality of life despite having similar reflux parameters as other GERD patients who do not have mental health issues.
Anxiety in these patients is associated with increased heartburn and chest pain
Patients with Non-erosive reflux disorder tend to experience mental health symptoms more than other subtypes of GERD.
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Can Anxiety Or Stress Cause Ibs
Stress and anxiety are also known to be a trigger for long-term conditions affecting the digestive system, IBS is often caused by stress, and flare ups of inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohns or Colitis, can be triggered by stress.
If you have IBS, youll probably know that feeling stressed and anxious can cause a flare-up of symptoms. Before a big event or on a day where you have to meet lots of work deadlines, you might experience cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation.
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Yes Stress Can Cause Bloating Heres What To Do
Stress, anxiety and bloating. This seems to be a combination that often comes hand in hand.
Very commonly, when someone is experiencing digestive symptoms of bloating, but also other symptoms of IBS such as cramping or constipation, these more emotional symptoms are present.
Can stress cause bloating or is it that the digestive symptoms are causing the stress?
Often, its both.
How To Relieve Stomach Pain Symptoms
There isnt necessarily a cure for the stomach pain symptoms themselves. When your body is under stress, your stomach tends to hurt based on the acids in your stomach and the foods youve already eaten. If you have stomach pain as a result of an anxiety attack, you may need to wait it out.
Water can help a little, however. So consider sipping cool water. Antacids may also be beneficial in some cases, but if you have stomach pain often, you may not want to depend on antacid treatments.
Stomach pain from anxiety can be caused by several stress-related issues, including abdominal tension, digestion issues, and irritable bowel. Although the stomach pain may be caused by anxiety, the acids in the stomach are still very real. There are ways to treat both your stomach discomfort and anxiety.
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What Does A Stress
Just as everyone experiences stress differently, they may experience the stomach discomfort it causes differently.
People with stress- or anxiety-related stomach pain most often complain of a knotted feeling, cramping, churning, bloating, indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea.
Broadly speaking, stress increases the movement and fluid secretion of your gut, which can leave you feeling like your stomach is either unusually blocked or extra active.
While acute or chronic stress has the potential to exacerbate the symptoms of any digestive condition, there are a number of specific stomach complaints that have been linked to stress, each with its own symptoms.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Our chiropractic experts can help those who suffer from a nervous stomach by recommending specific treatments for every individual. There are various chiropractic benefits to your digestive system.
Your digestive and nervous systems are all connected, meaning that the nerves located in your spine can affect your digestion. Our chiropractors can reduce the need for medication and reduce digestive issues by guiding your spinal vertebrae into the correct places. By doing this, your chiropractor is easing your digestive issues as well as other pains.
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How To Calm A Nervous Stomach
Given the importance of the psychological process in IBS, it is unsurprising that psychological therapies are an effective treatment option. Several psychotherapies are effective in reducing gastrointestinal distress:
- Gut-directed hypnosis . This hypnosis involves the patient visualizing their gut as a set of slimy tubes and other gut-related imagery. This helps to restore the gut-brain communication to reduce symptoms of IBS. Smartphone-based versions such as Nerva have recently become available, and offer convenient access to hypnotherapy.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy . This skill-based therapy teaches control over negative thought patterns and modifies patterns of behavior. Relaxation techniques help to control the stress response, and cognitive restructuring allows the patient to avoid catastrophizing. These techniques help to reduce the symptoms of IBS.
- Mindfulness-based therapies. This practice involves attending to the present moment and cultivating non-judgemental attitudes. Mindfulness therapies reduce levels of stress and sensitivity to pain, a key symptom of IBS. The effects have been shown to last over three months , although these therapies can be less effective than GDH and CBT.
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Should I Be Getting Screened Regularly For Colon Cancer Or Other Gi Tract Cancers
As of 2021, the United States Preventative Services Task Force and major GI medical societies recommend that adults at average risk for colorectal cancer are regularly screened beginning at age 45.
People who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other GI tract cancers, including stomach or pancreas cancer, or a history of GI conditions like inflammatory bowel disease may need routine cancer screening earlier than age 45.
Talk your primary care physician about your risk and ask if you should get tested.
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