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Does Stress And Anxiety Cause Stomach Pain

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When To See A Medical Healthcare Provider

Does Stress Or Anxiety Cause Pain

Even if you are fairly certain that stress is the culprit, you should discuss any unusual physical complaint with your healthcare provider to ensure that no other disease process is present and contributing to the problem. You should seek immediate medical attention should you experience any of the following:

  • Fever over 102 F or fever that lasts more than three days
  • Rectal bleeding

Fix Bloating From Anxiety

All of these can provide some relief from bloating, but won’t prevent bloating from coming back. You can also check your trigger foods, and see if there are foods that tend to cause more bloating when you’re anxious.


Anxiety affects the gut, it affects breathing, and it affects sleep. All of these things can lead to bloating, and what adds to the complications is that bloating can also affect anxiety. Once you feel bloat, you often have to just let it and fade away, but eventually it will become important to address the anxiety itself.

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So Can Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux

Yes, there are numerousstudiesconcluding that stress and anxiety can indeed cause acid reflux.

These are the most important factors that trigger heartburn and acid reflux while under stress:

  • Poor digestion might lead to gas buildup in the stomach.
  • Muscle tension, just like gas, might also increase stomach pressure.
  • Relaxed LES, combined with an increased stomach pressure it becomes easier for digestive juices to enter the esophagus.
  • Hypervigilance, a condition when one has exaggerated reactions to certain stimuli. In our case, this could mean that even mild heartburn might feel like severe chest pain.

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What Causes Anxiety Related Upset Stomach

Scientists have many different theories about why anxiety causes an upset stomach. One of the key beliefs is that anxiety causes changes in neurotransmitter function, particularly serotonin. There are serotonin receptors in the gut, and so when your body is experiencing anxiety, it’s likely receiving chemicals that tell it to respond with that upset feeling.

Other causes include:

  • Adrenaline Body Changes Adrenaline works with cortisol, the stress hormone, to allow the body to respond to danger quickly. These hormones may change the general physiological traits of the gut. Further, the ratio of good versus bad bacteria in the GI system may be altered by these hormones.
  • Slowed Digestion Anxiety activates the fight or flight system. Studies have shown that the speed of digestion decreases as a result of the fight or flight system, and this may cause discomfort in the stomach and intestines as a result.
  • Stomach Tension Anxiety also puts a great deal of pressure on the stomach muscles, and these, in turn, put pressure on the stomach. Any stomach pressure has the potential to change the way that your stomach feels during periods of stress.

All of these are potential issues that lead to problems with your stomach during periods of stress.

How Do You Manage Stress

Is Adrenal Fatigue and IBS Affecting Your Digestion?

The two extremes are that some people can handle major upsets without batting an eye, while others become distressed at the slightest deviation from their normal routine. It is important to remember that in small doses, stress can be a good thing. It can give you the push you need, motivating you to do your best and to stay focused and alert. Problems accumulate only when stress is constant.

The specific signs and symptoms of stress vary from person to person, but the potential to harm your health, emotional well-being, and relationships with others is real. Stress affects the mind, body, and behaviour in many ways apart from the digestive tract, including weight fluctuations, head and muscle aches, mood changes, and altered mental function.

You must find your own way to deal with stress in your life. Pre-planning some events might be worthwhile to reduce your overall stress level. By understanding how you deal with stress, you can make lifestyle changes that will lower your stress level, help you better cope with stress, and recover from stressful events more quickly.

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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.

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.

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When Is Stomach Pain Most Likely To Occur

If you have anxiety, stomach pain can occur at any time even when no anxiety is present. However, many people experience stomach pain during panic attacks.

The exact link between an anxiety attack and stomach pain is not clear, other than the fact that during a panic attack, your body is under a considerable amount of stress, and your hormones are often on overdrive. Also, those with anxiety attacks are prone to hyperventilation, which may lead to symptoms that create stomach pain.

Coping Techniques And Resources To Help Kids Thrive

Anxiety – Invisible Illness & Stomach Pain

With functional abdominal pain, there isnt necessarily a definite treatment or medication that will cure kids discomfort.

Its more about helping these kids learn coping techniques and identify the triggers that exacerbate their symptoms, said Pattamanuch. Children may need more screening for depression or anxiety from a mental health professional. There are helpful clinics at Seattle Childrens for this.

Some kids may be referred to the Biofeedback Clinic, where they can learn relaxation techniques to decrease the intensity of their pain. They may also be referred to the Pain Medicine Clinic where they could undergo an in-depth assessment to help manage their pain.

Aside from these resources, Pattamanuch often works with kids on simple techniques they can practice at home and implement into their daily lives to alleviate their recurring abdominal pain and discomfort. These include:

While all kids have unique needs, some may require medication to help with their symptoms. However, Pattamanuch says theres careful consideration when offering this treatment.

When needed, we have some medications we can prescribe to help relax the gastrointestinal tract, but often they arent useful because theyre not addressing the root cause of the issue, said Pattamanuch. Its most beneficial for kids to learn how to get in-tune with their psychological triggers and try to address those issues first and foremost.

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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
  • Constipation
  • Nausea

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 is 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.

Can You Get Stomach Pain From Stress

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A Word From Mindset Health

If you suffer anxiety and abdominal pain, and diagnostic testing finds no physical cause, you may have IBS. The gut-brain connection suggests how physical symptoms of IBS such as stomach aches may be linked to anxiety symptoms and stress levels. Seeking help from a mental health professional and receiving psychotherapies such as gut-directed hypnosis will offer the chance for your gut and mind to be healed as one.

How Anxiety Causes Back Pain: And How To Stop It

Why Stress And Anxiety Can Cause Diarrhea
  • Anxiety, especially chronic anxiety, commonly leads to back pain
  • Muscle tension may be the primary cause, but there are other supplementary anxiety symptoms that could also cause back pain
  • Simple lifestyle changes can reduce some of the back pain
  • One simple change: posture, which can be affected by anxiety in several ways
  • Eliminating back pain from anxiety, specifically, traditionally requires anxiety treatments

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How To Stop Anxiety From Causing Further Back Pain

Under the assumption that your back pain is caused by anxiety, treating that back pain does require a focus on the pain itself. Unfortunately, while treating anxiety can reduce your back pain in the long term , breaking the cycle of back pain depends in large part on your ability to also fight the back pain itself. Consider the following tips:

These are all traditional ways to deal with back pain unrelated to anxiety, but they’re still effective because once back pain starts, it needs to be stopped using traditional methods.

But of course, controlling your back pain is only step one. You will still need to learn ways to cope with anxiety so that you can stop your anxiety back pain from occurring again.


Anxiety causes muscle tension, inactivity, changes in posture, and other changes that can all lead to back pain. The pain is real, so over the counter painkillers, stretching, and similar treatments might be needed to eliminate the pain. In the long term, it becomes important to stop the anxiety.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Stress

There are many terms we already use to describe the symptoms of stomach stress. We probably use these without even realising it.

Terms such as gut feeling or butterflies in the stomach, can be key indicators that stress is building up. Often, as already mentioned, the first we may be aware of the stress were experiencing is when our stomach turns over.

If the stress passes, then so will this sensation. However, chronic and ongoing stress can lead to disruptions that may last long after the stress has subsided.

The sensation of bloating and the visible distention can worsen during these periods of stress. Other digestive symptoms such as reflux and altered bowel patterns can also occur.

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The Link Between Gut Health And Mental Health

In the past, researchers believed that mental health issues could create problems within the digestive system. Those who were anxious or depressed were more likely to experience stomach or intestinal disturbances. Thus, the answer to can stress causes constipation or stomach pain is, yes.

However, more recent studies show that it could be the other way around: gut health may affect mental health. In fact, many scientists believe that all disease begins in the gut.

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Its no coincidence that people feel like they have butterflies in their stomach when theyre nervous. The gut and brain are connected. You can experience physical symptoms in your digestive system when youre having strong emotions.

The chemicals and hormones that your body releases when youre anxious impact your intestinal microbiome. This can cause a number of stomach problems. If you have experienced stomach pain and digestive issues without a physical cause, you might be dealing with anxiety.

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What Anxiety Chest Pain Feels Like

Anxiety symptoms are rarely the same from person to person. Some days, symptoms arent even the same for the same person. Anxiety presents itself in a variety of ways, and that makes detecting or understanding symptoms difficult.

Chest pain associated with anxiety feels different for each person. Some people may experience chest pain on a gradual basis. For others, the pain may be sudden and unexpected. Anxiety chest pain can be described as:

  • sharp, shooting pain
  • an unusual muscle twitch or spasm in your chest
  • burning, numbness, or a dull ache
  • stabbing pressure
  • chest tension or tightness

If you dont have a history of chest pain with anxiety, you may be alarmed. Many people assume theyre having a heart attack and go to the hospitals emergency department for treatment.

An estimated 25 to 50 percent of patients who come to the emergency department with low risk chest pain experience moderate to severe anxiety, according to 2018 research.

If you visit a hospital emergency room and the doctors dont find a specific cause for your chest pain, consider consulting with your doctor about other possible causes, including anxiety.

Tips For Calming A Nervous Stomach

  • Practice mindful breathing to promote relaxation
  • Exercise to reduce tension and relieve symptoms
  • Focus on what you can control instead of the things that are out of your control
  • Eat small meals regularly and slowly to aid digestion
  • Lose excess weight to alleviate pressure on your stomach and relieve heartburn symptoms
  • Stop smoking to prevent further inflammation

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Tingling Sharp Pains And Tightness

Because the central nervous system is connected to the peripheral nervous system, that means youre wired from head to toe, Dr. Merrill says, and when theres anxiety in the brain, it sends out signals all along those connections. Much like your muscles, heart, and lungs are prepped for a threat, your nerves fire up to ensure the rest of your body is ready to jump or punch, too.

Because your nerves are activated, that can create an effect anywhere along those nerve systems, says Dr. Merrill. You may have tingling fingers or toes, for example, or the hairs on your arms stand up like youre scared.

If a nerve fires suddenly, there could be sharp pain or tightness as wellespecially in areas where the nerves are in tighter clusters, like your lower back, jaw, or neck.

What Is Stomach Pain Stress

What does an anxiety stomach ache feel like ...

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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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.

Relation Between Anxiety And Fap

A number of biopsychosocial factors are hypothesized to increase impairment in youth with FAP and anxiety. We focus on 3 areas in which FAP and co-occurring anxiety may have overlapping substrates or operate to increase impairment including neurobiological substrates, coping strategies, and social factors. These factors have been examined in a number of separate investigations, and some common themes are evolving, as reviewed below.

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