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Is anxiety causing your stomach to hurt? If so, here’s why it happens

Published on:14 August 2021, 13:00pm IST
You may have felt a degree of uneasiness in your stomach when you are stressed. That's because there's a connection between your brain and gut. Read on to know more.
Aayushi Gupta
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We must look at drug addiction as a mental health concern. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach whenever you’re anxious or worried about something? If so, then you know how stress can affect your digestion system. Stress and anxiety can make you feel like you have knots in your belly. In fact, if this continues to happen you can develop digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Here’s how stress or anxiety affect the stomach:

Stomach problems are among the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety. Researchers have identified a powerful connection between the gut and brain. This links anxiety to stomach problems and vice versa. Yes, the connection goes both ways! This happens because your gut is full of nerves like the brain. And the brain shares many of these nerve connections with the gut. So whenever you worry, stress has an effect on your digestive system by decreasing antibody production and affecting gut flora negatively. 

stomach ache
Anxiety also releases a stress hormone, which causes the body to produce extra levels of stomach acid. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Symptoms of the stress-related gut issues:
  1. Upset stomach usually after eating
  2. Cramping or bloating
  3. Constipation or diarrhea
  4. Indigestion
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Unnatural hunger
  7. Heartburn
  8. Nausea or gas

Also, read: I drank water from a copper bottle and ended up with a stomach ache for days

Once you suffer from any of these conditions, the condition itself can become a source of anxiety or stress that can impact your quality of life. So it’s important to take measures to be in control during stressful situations and find ways to keep yourself calm. 

Should I see the doctor if I get stomach pain when I’m stressed?

If you have serious belly pain along with vomiting when you’re anxious, you should talk to your doctor.

stomach ache
Don’t ignore stomach ache if it is severe. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Ways to cope with stress:

With these tips, you can help your mind to stay calm and free from any tension and worry. 

  1. When you’re feeling stressed, pop a chewing gum! It can help you feel less anxious.
  2. A study published in Science Direct mentions the positive effect of music on one’s stress level by lowering the cortisol levels (which cause stress). So turn up the music. 
  3. Just breathe! Practicing deep breathing is the most convenient way to relieve stress or anxiety
  4. You can also take the help of squishy toys. Squeezing that stress ball can really reduce tension.
  5. If possible, take a warm bath because the warm water on your skin can make you forget about all your worries and tension.
  6. Last, spend time with your pet, if you have one!

With these simple ways you can manage your stress levels, and can prevent stomach issues which are caused by worries and tension.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.