Counseling And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One of the best ways to reduce stress and its psychological and physiological impact on the body involves learning effective management and coping techniques through counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy .
These therapies work to identify self-critical, distorted thought, or behavior patterns that cause negative emotions. They then assess which of these patterns might be connected to digestive symptoms and help you develop logic- and science-based strategies for reframing these emotions and physical responses.
Eat Properly To Help Your Digestion
It’s very easy to spend our working lives eating on the move or at our desks, gulping down food between meetings and then crashing out in front of the TV with a takeaway in the evenings.
But eating this way can play havoc with our digestive system.
Follow some basic rules to prevent problems:
- Do not rush your food. Take the time to eat slowly. Try putting your fork down between bites and chew each mouthful well.
- Do not overeat. Reduce the size of your portions at mealtimes, or try eating 4 to 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.
- Eat regularly and try not to skip meals.
- Avoid eating a big meal just before you go to bed. Eat your last meal at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down.
- Make sure you have plenty of water to drink.
How To Reduce Stomach Pain
If you find yourself suffering from stomach pain, you have several different options when it comes to remedies.
- Heat Putting a hot water bottle on your tummy can help the muscles to relax, thereby reducing tummy pain
- Apple cider vinegar this popular remedy is believed to help with digestive issues. Make sure to dilute it with water and drink through a straw to avoid the acid damaging your teeth
- Medication Over-the-counter remedies can help alleviate the effects of stomach pain. Always read the label first.
- Herbal tea calming teas may help your stomach to get back to normal. Try ginger, chamomile or peppermint.
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A Healthy Diet Can Also Help
If you are looking for even more effective ways of dealing with stress, a healthy diet might be what you are looking for. Certain unhealthy foods can actually have an impact on your mental health. I advise you to avoid fast food and start implementing healthier stuff in your diet. Try adding more vegetables in your meals, fruits in-between, avoid cereal and any other high-sugar foods. Go for cleaner meat such as fish. You could also try protein shakes. Those are rich with all the nutrition and vitamins that you need.
Why Does My Back Hurt
There are a number of reasons, some of which may not be glaringly obvious, why you are experiencing back pain. Trauma or direct injury to the area can certainly result in acute or chronic pain, but oftentimes the cause of your back pain can be traced to something else. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:
- Muscle spasms
- Herniated disc
Seemingly harmless activities like repetitive lifting or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club often put a strain on your muscles and ligaments and result in back pain. Chronic or degenerative conditions, such as those listed above, can also be culprits of back pain. However, if none of these things apply to you, your back pain may be the result of something else.
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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.
Understanding The Link Between Stress And Stomach Aches In Children
Abdominal pain and stress are related in many ways. Having abdominal pain can cause stress, especially when it leads to missed school or other activities. But more often, stress causes abdominal pain, or makes it worse. Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach when you are nervous? Did you ever feel sick to your stomach when you got some bad news? Children feel the same things, but often cant tell where those feelings come from. It took a long a time to understand why my stomach hurt every morning when I turned the corner to my middle school.
Scientists can explain why we have these feelings: the stomach and intestine have their own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system. These nerves respond to the same stress hormones and neurotransmitters that our brains do. We also know that stress and fatigue decrease pain thresholds. This means that a small change, like the passage of a gas bubble, can feel much worse when a person is stressed, tired, and run down. When a person is well-rested and feeling good, he or she might not even notice the gas bubble.
Stress-related eating can worsen pain, too. Which are the comfort foods your child prefers? Are they high in lactose or fructose, such as milk, apple juice, macaroni and cheese, or ice cream? Many people have a poor ability to digest lactose or fructose. Although these conditions are not dangerous, they can be very uncomfortable, causing pain, cramping, bloating, and even diarrhea.
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Tips To Reduce Anxiety Or Worry And De
Become a better breather. Stress can cause shallow breathing, which means that your body wont get enough oxygen to fully relax. Learn to breathe more slowly and deeply from your abdomen. One way to do this is to imagine that you have a small beach ball behind your belly button, which you slowly inflate and deflate.
Watch your self-talk. Much of our anxiety is self-induced, meaning that we often get ourselves wound up worrying about worst-case scenarios or blowing small incidents out of proportion.
Monitor your negative thoughts to see how often you fret about things such as losing your job, or making mistakes. If you find yourself obsessing, try to substitute a negative thought with a positive, but realistic one. For example, instead of thinking, I know something will go wrong during my presentation, tell yourself, No matter what happens, I can handle it.
Get physical. Exercise is a well-known tension reducer and can help relieve symptoms. The paradox is that strenuous, high-impact exercises might induce GERD symptoms, so take care to increase exercise slowly and assess your bodys tolerance to this as you do.
Have a good belly laugh. Laughter is a natural stress reliever that helps to lower blood pressure, slow your heart and breathing rate, and relax your muscles. How do you tickle your funny bone? Catch comedies, have a chuckle with a friend, and make an effort to look on the lighter side of life.
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Does Your Child Need To See A Doctor About Stomach Pain
You should take your child to see your GP if your child:
- complains of severe pain in the tummy or it wakes them from sleep
- has tummy pain that doesnt go away, or that keeps coming and going
- is unwell or has a fever in addition to the pain
- complains that the pain gets worse when they move
- has diarrhoea or vomiting that doesnt go away
- is losing weight or has pain that affects their energy levels.
Take your child to a hospital emergency department straight away if your child has:
- bloody or green vomit
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What Happens When Youre Stressed Out
- 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.
When To Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Get medical help immediately if:
- You have abdominal pain that is very sharp, severe, and sudden.
- You also have pain in the chest, neck, or shoulder.
- Youre vomiting blood, have bloody diarrhea, or have black, tarry stools
- You have a high fever.
- Youre having difficulty breathing.
- You develop consistent nausea and/or vomiting.
- Your abdomen is stiff, hard, and tender to the touch.
- You cant move your bowels, especially if youre also vomiting
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Ovulation Pain Or Midcycle Spotting
Mittelschmerz is a German word that translates as “middle pain.” It refers to the normal discomfort sometimes felt by women during ovulation, which is at the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.
Each month, one of the two ovaries forms a follicle that holds an egg cell. The pain occurs when the follicle ruptures and releases the egg.
This is a dull, cramping sensation that may begin suddenly in only one side of the lower abdomen. In a few cases, there may be vaginal spotting. Mittelschmerz occurs about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual period.
Actual Mittelschmerz is not associated with nausea, vomiting, fever, or severe pelvic pain. These symptoms should be evaluated by a medical provider since they can indicate a more serious condition.
Diagnosis is made through patient history.
Treatment requires only over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain. An oral contraceptive will stop the symptoms, since it also stops ovulation.
Top Symptoms: abdominal pain , last period approximately 2 weeks ago, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain
Symptoms that always occur with ovulation pain or midcycle spotting: last period approximately 2 weeks ago
Counseling For Environmental Hardships
A common contributor to stress is environmental factors. You may have recently lost your job, be facing severe financial hardship, or have suffered the loss of a close relationshipand the stress from these experiences may be provoking your lower back pain symptoms.
It is often a good idea to find assistance through counseling or therapy to relieve stress caused by environmental hardships. A trained mental health counselor or psychologist can teach you strategies to cope with, and minimize, the causes of your stress. For example, she or he can teach you to plan in advance, and also help with developing strategies to deal with the difficult people in your life.
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Types Of Abdominal Pain
There are three types of abdominal pain that you can experience cramp-like, localized, or colicky.
Localized abdominal pain is when only one area of the abdomen is aching. This type of abdominal pain is usually caused due to issues associated with a single organ. Examples of localized abdominal pain are stomach ulcers.
Colicky abdominal pain is when you have a sharp, severe spasmodic pain which cannot be localised to one place which is waxing and waning persisting for few minutes reducing and recurring again.. This type of abdominal pain can last long if left untreated. You can experience this due to kidney stones, intestinal obstruction etc
Cramp-like abdominal pain is when you experience pain similar to cramps. Sometimes this type of pain goes away without you doing anything. Women can experience this pain due to menstruation. Other causes of this type of pain include constipation, flatulence, or diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
When To Make An Appointment To See Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment to see your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesnt go away within a couple of days.
- The pain comes back after going away.
- Symptoms like diarrhea dont go away within a couple of days.
- Youre urinating more or less often, and/or its painful.
- You have unintended weight loss.
Know your body, Dr. Kingsley says. If you start having pain that you have not had before and does not go away, you should contact your doctor to be evaluated further.
Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if youre concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.
Editor’s Note: This infographic was originally published on June 24, 2014.
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In General What Conditions Do Gastroenterologists Treat
Gastroenterologists can evaluate for and treat a wide variety of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease , gastroesophageal reflux disease , celiac disease, peptic ulcer disease, obesity and more. GI doctors also routinely perform screenings for colon cancer.
My area of specialty is in prevention and early detection of cancers such as colorectal, gastric and pancreatic cancer. I enjoy helping patients, especially those with a family history, understand their risk for cancer while offering genetic testing, screening and more.
Overall, its important for patients to openly discuss stress and GI symptoms with their doctors. Primary care doctors can help manage stress and treat symptoms, but in some cases it may be necessary to see a gastroenterologist to evaluate for other conditions.
Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain: Essential Tests
Your doctor will take a detailed history of the onset of pain, site of pain and the severity. He will inquire about the associated symptoms like vomiting, jaundice etc. Then he/she will perform a detailed clinical examination. He will press your abdomen to understand where you feel pain and to check for any swelling in the abdomen. With utmost gentleness he/she will try to localise the site of pain, type of pain and the likely reason of pain. With the help of a stethoscope, your doctor will listen so that he can understand what is going on with your abdomen and the problems that exists. This information enables your doctor to order particular tests needed for diagnosis and mangement of the current problem. The following are some of the tests that are used to diagnose abdominal pain after a physical examination.
Upper endoscopy is a test that enables your doctor to examine your esophagus, stomach and small part of small intestine. Upper endoscopy is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or OGD. A thin and flexible tube, called an endoscope, is put into your mouth and gradually proceeded through the throat into the food pipe, stomach and the intestines. At the end of the tube is a camera that enables your doctor to view your stomach and small intestine thoroughly.
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The Connection Of The Mind And Body With Stress
However, did you know that it might happen that the doctor will not see anything physically wrong, and he might even ask, What is happening in your life these days? You can tell him that things are quite intense these days.
You are not just experiencing multiple deadlines at work, but you may also be having some volunteering activities and also taking care of your parents/kids, who are not well.
Then the doctor will indeed suggest you gently that the main reasons for severe headache and pain in the neck are the hectic schedule and feelings of depression related to your parents/kids well-being.
Also, based on the results of the multiple studies conducted in recent years, it is clear that depression, stress, panic attacks, anxiety and emotional events can cause some of the severe physical symptoms associated with stress.
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Let find out what are the common physical symptoms associated with stress.
How To Reduce Stress
Aside from managing the physical symptoms of stress, the only way to truly make a difference is to address the root of the problem the mind. Whilst its true that stress is not a physical condition, there are ways of managing it and improving your physical health.
Experts have suggested that good ways to reduce stress are meditating, breathing exercises and calming exercise such as yoga. Try to take some relaxing walks outdoors as exercise, combined with fresh air and sunlight, are fantastic natural mood-boosters.
You should also consider your work life are you staying late, or continually worrying about deadlines? Some people may find that their stomach pain or similar symptoms worsen while at work. If this sounds like you, take steps to address this work stress. Speak to someone at work and tell them how you are feeling. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Some individuals also find that therapy or counselling can really help their stress, which subsequently will hopefully lead to fewer stomach problems.
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The Enteric Nervous System
The enteric nervous system refers to the neurons controlling the digestive system. This âsecond brainâ is connected to the central nervous system â the brain and spinal cord. This system relies on neurotransmitters to communicate with the central nervous system and may affect mood.
After sensing food, the nerves of the enteric nervous system communicate with muscle cells to initiate contraction, moving food along the intestines.
In response to stress and in disorders such as IBS, the enteric nervous system may function abnormally. For instance, levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin may be altered, or nerves may become hypersensitive. This may lead to gut symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, or constipation.