Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Can Stress Give You Stomach Pain

The Link Between The Gut And The Mind

Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain And Ulcers?

Experts have discovered that the stomach and the mind are more closely linked than we first thought. Worry, stress, anxiety and nerves can all have a physical effect on the body, including the digestive system.

For example, those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome have found that, although the primary causes of the symptoms are often food-related, stress has a huge effect on their day-to-day management of IBS symptoms.

Why Does Stress Cause Problems In The Digestive System

Theres increasing evidence showing that theres an important relationship between the brain and the digestive system. This is sometimes called the brain-gut or gut-brain axis.

Communication between the two can affect activity in the brain and in the digestive system. This is why stress can cause symptoms in the stomach and the gut, and why the reverse is also true having digestive problems can make us feel very stressed and anxious.

When were in a stressful situation, our bodies tend to have a fight or flight reaction. Hormones are released which prepare us to act, by keeping us alert and energised.

The theory is that when these stress hormones are released, digestion slows down or even stops altogether so that the body can divert its energy to managing the perceived threat. This slowing down of the digestive process causes the symptoms of bloating, constipation, and pain.

We also know that in some people, stress can cause the opposite problem, speeding up the digestive process and causing diarrhoea.

Is Abdominal Pain Caused By Stress Serious And Should I See A Doctor

Abdominal pain caused by stress isn’t serious, but can be very bothersome. The cause isn’t physical and it usually isn’t necessary to contact a doctor. Everyone has an important deadline, test or meeting once in a while, which makes you a bit nauseated and causes a knot in your stomach. Know when to contact a doctor

Contact a doctor:

  • When you have a vague, nagging abdominal pain, without any other physical symptoms, for over 2 weeks

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Check With Your Pediatrician

When a child develops a pattern of physical symptoms before school, or other potentially stressful moments, experts recommend that you visit your doctor to rule out medical concerns. But if the child gets a clean bill of health, the next step is to help the child make the connection between their worries and their physical symptoms.

We help them understand in a very child-friendly way that sometimes our body can actually give us clues into what were feeling, explains Ms. Greenspan.

Parents can start by validating their childs experience and reframing it in a more helpful way. Instead of telling kids theres nothing wrong with them, the goal is to tell them that what theyre feeling is worry.

We give it a name, adds Dr. Domingues. We help them connect it to an emotion and label it. And after some practice kids are able to identify it, she adds. Yes, my stomach hurts and, oh yeah, I remember thats because Im feeling worried. And after learning some skills to help them calm down, I think they feel a sense of control. And that helps.

Childhood Stomach Aches May Lead To Anxiety Depression As An Adult

How to tell if diarrhea and nausea is stress or the ...

Stomach aches may be a normal part of life for some children, but a new study shows that unexplained abdominal pain at an early age may cause anxiety or depression come adulthood.

Research published online Aug. 12 in Pediatrics shows that 51 percent of children who had abdominal pain as children also had an anxiety disorder sometime during their lifetime. Thirty percent had a current diagnosis at the time they were surveyed.

A decade later, individuals who had stomach pain continued to have high rates of anxiety disorders, even if they no longer had stomach pain, study author Lynn Walker, a professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., told HealthDay.

For comparison, only 20 percent of people who did not have abdominal issues when they were a kid had an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

The authors pointed out that between eight and 25 percent of all children experience chronic stomach pain without a known medical cause like an infection or blockage, which is known as functional abdominal pain.

Its very prevalent, and its one of the most common reasons that children and adolescents end up in their pediatricians office. Its one of the most common reasons kids are missing school, Dr. Eva Szigethy, head of the Medical Coping Clinic at the Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, said to Reuters. She was not involved in the study.

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What Is Stomach Pain Stress

Your gut contains a huge number of nerves. When we feel stress, we enter a fight or flight state, where stress hormones and chemicals are released, telling the digestive tract to slow down. These hormones can have a negative effect on our gut flora and gut antibodies. If there is a chemical imbalance in the gut, physical symptoms are more likely to follow.

Stomach pain can also be caused by different types of negative emotion aside from stress, including fear, anxiety and excitement. Different life events can be attributed to causing stress, including grief, chronic illness, money troubles, an upcoming event such as an exam, relationship problems or life changes. Sometimes events do not have to be overly significant to cause us stress which can be why it sometimes takes us a while to address the cause of the problem.

However, stomach problems can also be a sign of issues such as IBS, Crohns disease or gastroenteritis, so if you are worried about your symptoms, always see a doctor.

Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety

In fact anxiety is associated with a host of physical symptoms, including headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, along with a racing heart, shakiness or sweating symptoms older people experience when theyre having a panic attack.

All these physical symptoms are related to the fight-or-flight response triggered when the brain detects danger. All of them have a purpose, notes , a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. When she talks to kids about anxious headaches or stomach aches, she explains the role of each. For instance, she says, your stomach hurts because your digestive system is shutting down to send blood to other areas of your body. You dont want to be digesting food at that moment because youre trying to either flee danger or fight danger.

Dr. Domingues assures children that these symptoms are not harmful theyre just their emergency system responding to a false alarm. But its important to understand that kids arent necessarily inventing their symptoms, and the danger may feel very real to them. Dont assume a child who spends a lot of time in the nurses office at school is doing it intentionally to get out of class. Their acute anxiety may be causing them pain.

Headaches and stomach aches related to anxiety are still real feelings, and we want to take them seriously, says Ms. Greenspan.

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Causes Of Palpitations In Stomach & Ways To Get Rid Of It

Palpitations in stomach are a common occurrence in some people, especially those who already have digestive problems. While this may be a routine experience for some, the causes may be deep rooted and often need to be addressed. Knowing about the causes of palpitations in stomach may help. Given here are also some effective ways to get rid of the palpitations in stomach.

What Happens When Youre Stressed Out

Can Stress Cause Stomach Problems? | Stomach Problems
  • Your gut bacteria changes. Bad bacteria start to flourish, and good bacteria begin to die off. This changes the way foods you eat are digested.
  • Your gut gets leakier. When you eat processed foods, some of the molecules escape from your intestine into your immune-processing pathways, increasing inflammation and other problems.
  • Your mood changes. Your gut produces even more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin than your brain. But stress cuts its production, leaving you feeling uneasy and at risk of depression.
  • Your fight, flight or freeze switch stays on. Diverting all your energy to your muscles helped in prehistoric times: When you saw the woolly mammoth coming, you could quickly run away, hit him on the nose and knock him out, or play dead. After the mammoth moved on, you could relax. Chronic stress keeps your emergency button on all the time. Your digestion remains altered, causing bloating, cramps, diarrhea and constipation.

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Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Fatigue

One of the most common symptoms of depression is the feeling of being constantly tired and drained.

While depression exhaustion can be mental, it often presents as a lack of physical energy.

This may occur as a result of low-quality sleep, especially for those that attempt to manage their depression with drugs or alcohol.

For some people, low quality sleep means insomnia and sleep deprivation, while for others it might mean sleeping constantly without ever feeling rested.

Alcohol adds to this effect by interrupting the REM cycle, causing the brain to miss out on the most restorative periods of sleep throughout the night.

Incessant fatigue makes working and socializing especially difficult, and can contribute to the sad and hopeless feelings that often accompany depression.

Fatigue may also cause a depressed individual to abandon their workout routine and become less active, which can exacerbate depression over time.

Aches and Pains

Depression can quite literally hurt. Just as when you have the flu and your body seems to ache all over, depression can cause mild pain and discomfort to amplify, becoming severely distracting and debilitating.

Because our brains are responsible for producing the sensation of pain, poor mental health can cause inappropriate responses to varying degrees of pain.

Research has confirmed that depression lowers pain tolerance, intensifying pain that would otherwise be manageable.

Digestive Issues

Headaches

Sometimes Abdominal Pain Is Physical And Mental

If you have a gastrointestinal condition such as IBS, Crohns disease, or ulcerative colitis, stress or anxiety can exacerbate your symptoms. This can make your physical and mental health even more inextricably linked.

This relationship can be cyclical, Sperling says: Stress or anxiety can prompt gut inflammation and intestinal spasms, leading to more GI symptoms, which can just translate to more stress or anxiety. Its pretty unfair. If you have a GI condition and feel like youre stuck in this rhythm, talk to your doctor to see if theres a way to make your gut and your brain get along a little better so that you dont have to suffer.

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Back Pain Or Aching Muscles All Over

You might feel okay in the morning, but once youre at work or sitting at a school desk, your back starts to hurt. It could be stress, or it could be depression. Although theyre often associated with bad posture or injuries, backaches can also be a symptom of psychological distress.

A 2017 research study of 1,013 Canadian university students found a direct association between depression and backaches.

Psychologists and psychiatrists have long believed emotional issues can cause chronic aches and pains, but the specifics are still being researched, such as the connection between depression and the bodys inflammatory response.

Newer studies

What To Do About Pain And Nausea From Anxiety

Prolonged stress can cause diarrhea

You should consult with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing unexplained mild to moderate GI disturbances for more than a few days, or if your symptoms stop and then return. They may order tests or refer you to a specialist to rule out any serious medical problem that may be causing your symptoms.

If your doctor determines that you have functional GI symptoms related to anxiety, there are many effective treatments availableboth for your GI concerns and the underlying anxiety. Prescribed medications and psychotherapy can help you to reduce your feelings of anxiety and develop healthy ways to cope with stress.

Also Check: Can Stress Cause Chest And Back Pain

What Is Samhsas National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Also visit the online treatment locators.

Yes Stress Can Cause Bloating Heres What To Do

Contents

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.

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Stomach Pain And Long

Because of the extra acid in your stomach and the changes to the way your body processes nutrients, the stomach pain from anxiety can be a problem if left untreated. Ulcers are just one example. Some people experience heartburn from anxiety, and others eat less often, giving their body fewer nutrients.

The stomach pain from anxiety and stress is rarely dangerous, but it is still important to treat it, because the effects on your long-term health when it is left untreated may be harder to manage.

You Feel Pain Almost Everyday At The Same Time

4 Ways Stress Could Be Hurting Your Stomach Tips For Relief | Dr. Roshini Raj

You might wake up every morning and feel anxiety before you go to work because your boss really stresses you out, or maybe you only feel anxious when you come home for the night because you live alone and feel uncomfortable being with your own thoughts.

If you are feeling anticipatory anxiety at the same time every day, Dr. Zarnegar says, chances are that there is something in your daily life that is triggering a lot of emotional distress.

âAdopt a non-judgmental attitude about your pain and develop a compassionate stance for your suffering,â she says. Basically dont shame yourself because you have this pain. A kind attitude to yourself is the first step to long-term solutions.

Recommended Reading: How To Fight Stress And Anxiety Naturally

When Should You See A Doctor For Gastrointestinal Problems

Mild or occasional digestive problems due to stress are common. However, this doesnt mean that you should dismiss these symptoms.

Tell your doctor about symptoms such as nausea, stomachache, cramps, or diarrhea. The more your doctor knows about your health, the better the quality of care you receive.

These symptoms could indicate a manageable digestive problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome. The American College of Gastroenterology states that 10 to 15 percent of U.S. adults have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome however, only five to seven percent of adults have been diagnosed with IBS.

Talk to your doctor if you experience stress-related digestive problems. Your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist.

Eye Problems Or Decreasing Vision

Do you find that the world looks blurry? While depression may cause the world to look grey and bleak, one 2010 research study in Germany suggests that this mental health concern may actually affect ones eyesight.

In that study of 80 people, depressed individuals had difficulty seeing differences in black and white. Known by researchers as contrast perception, this might explain why depression can make the world look hazy.

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How To Overcome Abdominal Pain From Anxiety

If you’re concerned about your abdominal pain, especially if it is significantly disabling or doesn’t appear to let up even when your anxiety has gone away, it never hurts to see a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose the cause of your pains and discomforts.

There are some strategies you can use to try to overcome this pain. They include:

  • Stretching Even though anxiety may be contributing to your muscle tension, the tension is still tension like any other. Stretching is a good way to relieve this tension and make sure that you’re not over-straining your muscles in a way that will cause pain or discomfort.
  • Healthy Eating While healthy eating can’t prevent all indigestion and discomfort, it can prevent some of it. That’s why it’s valuable to make sure that you’ve changed your diet to one that is less prone to causing indigestion. Healthy eating, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, does make an impact on stomach pain.
  • Exercise Exercise may create pain at first, but over time it will make it easier for your muscles to overcome pain and discomfort. In addition, exercise is a very powerful anxiety reduction tool, so exercise could have added benefits for helping you overcome your anxiety issues.

Of course, the best way to stop your abdominal pain is to stop your anxiety, and the best way to stop your anxiety is to commit yourself to empirically validated treatments.

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How Do You Relieve Bloating From Stress

What is IBS? Causes, symptoms and treatment

While it may not be possible or easy to do, ideally, we want to address the stress that is contributing to the bloating. This may be the root cause for many.

However, as mentioned above, following periods of stress we can enter a vicious cycle. Here the imbalance in the gut microbiome makes us more sensitive to stress and then the additional perception of stress can then further disrupt the gut.

In these cases, it can be most helpful to address the imbalance in the gut and the perception or exposure to stress at the same time.

There are several tools and approaches to use to help rebalance this.

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