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. Her acute anxiety may be causing her pain.
Headaches and stomach aches related to anxiety are still real feelings, and we want to take them seriously, says Ms. Greenspan.
Here Are Six Signs Your Abdominal Pain Could Be Physical
Many triggers of abdominal pain are situational, James Marion, M.D., a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, tells SELF. Unfortunately, sometimes the situation in question is a nasty bout of foodborne illness.
Something as seemingly harmless as trying a new dish at a restaurant could leave your stomach feeling wonky. So can making these food safety mistakes when youre cooking at home.
Foodborne illness can set in hours to days after eating something contaminated, though sometimes it might even take weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. In any case, food poisoning can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, watery or bloody diarrhea, and a fever.
While it can seem like gas is only about burping and farting, pain is also a common symptom.
You can also burp, fart, have abdominal pain, and experience other gas symptoms due to things like swallowing too much air as you chew or drinking a lot of carbonated beverages. And sometimes gas is a symptom of a condition like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, in which case youll experience other signs that something is physically wrong, like bloody diarrhea and constant exhaustion.
While its not always true that specific abdominal issues come with specific kinds of pain, certain conditions do tend to have characteristic types of discomfort that potentially make them easier to identify.
Why Do I Have A Nervous Stomach
Most likely, youll get a nervous stomach because youre simply nervous. It can happen to anyone.
The brain and gut are connected via the vagus nerve, one of the largest nerves in the body. This nerve sends signals from the brain to gut and vice versa, increasing digestive irritability and irregularity when stress and anxiety occurs.
If you have symptoms of a nervous stomach on a regular basis and especially if your symptoms are progressively getting worse, you may need to give more attention to your stress levels and digestive health.
In rare instances, nervous stomach may signal an underlying health problem. If nervous stomach is a common experience for you, check in with your doctor.
They will help rule out other issues that may be affecting your stomach, such as:
In even rarer instances, nervous stomach may be related to gallstones or vagus nerve damage.
Otherwise, nervous stomach is a completely normal occurrence that is easily managed.
Certain treatments are a quick fix for a nervous stomach. However, if its a common and troublesome occurrence, heres some more holistic lifestyle approaches that may be helpful.
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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.
Foods Containing Probiotics And Carbohydrates
Foods that contain probiotics naturally can reduce gas, bloating, or irregular bowel movements. Some of these foods include yogurt containing active bacterial cultures, buttermilk, kefir, miso, kimchi, and kombucha.
Foods such as rice, oatmeal, crackers, and toast or other bland carbohydrates are recommended for upset stomachs.
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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.
Explained: The Link Between Stress And Stomach Problems
If you are experiencing stomach problems, then you may also be feeling stressed. When we experience high levels of stress, our gut also feels this stress. Stress and anxiety have been linked to chronic health problems such as heart disease, depression, and obesity. There is also a connection between stomach gurgling and bloating, constipation, and stomach pain. Further symptoms of stress induced stomach gurgling include:
- Bad Bacteria Grows, Good Bacteria Dies
- Leaky Gut
- Reduced production of Serotonin
If your stomach gurgling is a symptom of stress, there are many things you can do to change your behavior and response to stress. In general, most of us will often respond to stressful events in a poor way. We will wait and hope that the source of our stress goes away by itself, excessively shop, drink alcohol, treat ourselves to something we want, or gamble. As a result, we then experience more stress and get stuck in a vicious circle.
There are far better ways to handle stress, including:
- Remove the Source of Stress
- List Ways to Solve the Problem
Learn these 3 simple steps to boost digestive health in the morning from BIOHM Health:
How do you manage stomach disturbances? Are you experiencing persistent stomach growling after eating? Lets talk about gut health in the comments below. Up Next:
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Take The Occasional Breather
Every few hours, stop all activity and rest. Breathe in and out slowly and steadily through your nose. This is especially helpful when you are performing a task that refuses to give the expected results. Instead of repeating it for the third time, take a rest and just breathe.
When you get back to it, you will realize that your heart rate is back to normal. Also, that tension headache has reduced.
Effect Of Anxiety On Your Digestive Tract
Stress and anxiety can have a physical effect on your digestive system. Anxiety causes some hormones and chemicals released by your body to access the digestive tract. While there, they play havoc with your digestion.
This impacts negatively on your gut flora microorganisms that are found in the digestive tract that help with digestion. Interference in the digestive process causes a decline in the production of antibodies, thus creating several digestive-related problems for you.
You may then experience symptoms such as:
- Cramping in the stomach
Anxiety can be caused by any number of factors from public speaking to family get-togethers. If your gut cramps every time you have some event coming up, it may be due to anxiety.
Think back to times when you have been stressed or anxious. How did your stomach behave? Did you feel an ache or sudden onset of heartburn? If your answer is in the affirmative, you may have experienced anxiety-related stomach pain. If you already deal with anxiety, a doctor or therapist can help you manage it.
One way to keep track of your stomach troubles journaling. A few weeks of journaling should reveal if is caused by mental issues. You can associate your discomfort with the immediate event before trouble struck.
Moreover, it helps you chronicle how your aches come and go as your tummy responds to stress and anxiety.
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Stomach Burning After Drinking Water
Water is known to be the number one health beverage you can consume, but it can lead to burning sensation in the stomach, too. Drinking too much water can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia, which is characterized by abnormally low sodium levels. The main symptoms of hyponatremia are discomfort, vomiting, confusion, fatigue, and even convulsions.
Consuming too much water can also negatively impact the kidneys. Our kidneys are able to filter through 1,000 ml of water an hour. Drinking more than this amount can overwork your kidneys, and if you have kidney disease you are at an even greater risk of complications of excessive water intake.
Find Space For Yourself To Relax
Ultimately, find time and space for yourself to clear your head and take control of your nervousness, even if it must be total alone time. Dont be afraid to excuse yourself, even from an important event.
If talking to a friend, family member, or loved one helps, do so during this time. Talking with someone you trust can help you overcome anxiety.
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Your Upset Stomach May Be Cause By Stress
An upset stomach is one of the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety. This can come from a single stressful moment like public speaking or a bad breakup or chronic worry over time from work or a global pandemic.
If your stomach hurts without any obvious cause, such as food illness, its possible that feelings of stress or anxiety could be the trigger. In addition to stomachaches, stress can also cause other digestive problems:
While these symptoms may stem from stress or anxiety, they can also become a source of stress. For example, someone who experiences diarrhea or urgency with bowel movements may fear having an accident in public this can prevent them from leaving their home or limit the places they go.
What Is Stomach Churning
Stomach churning and gurgling can be an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen. Although a queasy stomach is usually only temporary if you have an upset stomach for a week or longer it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
If you have ever experienced stomach growling, especially stomach gurgling after eating, then you may well know the other symptoms that run alongside it. Other symptoms of a sour stomach can include nausea and digestive issues.
Moreover, continue reading to find out what causes upset stomach and gas. We also explain when you should see a doctor, and further signs to look out for.
Stomach Noises such as stomach churning and gurgling and Pain: Causes and Symptoms for Those Belly Noises and Cramps
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How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Stomachache
To find the cause of a stomachache, doctors ask about:
- your symptoms
- illnesses you’ve had in the past
- health conditions that other family members have
Be honest with your doctor, even if a symptom seems embarrassing.
The doctor will do an exam and sometimes might order tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or blood test. It all depends on what the doctor thinks is causing the problem.
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.
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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.
Your Stomach May Ache When You Are Anxious
As mentioned earlier, anxiety and stomach pain are linked. For starters, can you tell if your pain is caused by physical determinants? Yes, you can. The cause of your tummy troubles is physical if:
- You are constantly passing wind or burping
- You feel bloated and are not able to either pass stool or keep your food down
- You ate food that may have been contaminated
- You took anti-inflammatory medication on an empty stomach
- Severe pain accompanied by nausea, fever, and vomiting
- The pain can be located in a specific area
- You ate food that triggered your acid
This tells you that for the most part, stomach trouble is a result of external factors. However, sometimes your discomfort is caused by mental issues. Anxiety stomach pain relief is crucial for you to feel well again.
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Techniques For Calming Down
Here are some of the techniques clinicians teach anxious children, adapted from CBT and mindfulness training:
Deep breathing: Drawing in air by expanding the belly, sometimes called belly breathing, helps kids relax by slowing breathing, and reducing the heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. It can also help relax tense stomach muscles.Mindfulness exercises: Techniques such as focusing on whats around them, what they see and hear, can help pull children away from the anxiety and ground them in the moment.Coping statements: Children are taught to talk back to their worries, Ms. Greenspan explains. They can say, Im feeling scared and I can handle it. Or something along the lines of, Im bigger than my anxiety.Coping ahead: Children are taught that when you have to do something that makes you nervous, it helps to anticipate that you might have some discomfort, and plan what you can do to counteract it, knowing that if you can push through it, it will get easier.Acceptance: This involves acknowledging the discomfort without fighting it. Instead of trying to push the feeling away and get rid of it, Dr. Domingues explains, we ask you to hold onto it and tolerate it and get through it.
Tips To Prevent Pain In Burning Stomach
A burning feeling in the stomach is often paired with pain, which can be quite debilitating. Here are some tips to help you better prevent burning stomach pain.
- Dont suppress belching, as burning stomach may be alleviated through burping.
- Avoid spicy and oily foods.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates like whole grains.
- Dont smoke.
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How Can I Feel Better
Most bellyaches don’t have a serious cause. They can happen for many different reasons, but most are easy to treat.
If stress or anxiety seem to be behind the pain, the doctor may recommend that you talk to a counselor or therapist. They help people figure out what’s behind their stress and give advice on how to fix problems or handle them better.
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.
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