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Does Anxiety Make Your Stomach Hurt

Should I See A Gastroenterologist About My Upset Stomach

Anxiety and Your Stomach

If youve been experiencing unpleasant digestive symptoms for 2-4 weeks, it might be time to see a doctor. Perhaps youve tried some of the recommendations listed above but arent getting relief, or maybe you have an underlying feeling that something just isnt right. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that patients should see a doctor if their digestive upset lasts for more than two weeks. You should also see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following in addition to stomach discomfort:

  • diarrhea that lasts for more than two days
  • frequent vomiting or vomit that looks like it contains blood or coffee grounds
  • pain in the chest, neck, jaw, or arm
  • unexplained weight loss

How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders

Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:

  • Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
  • Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
  • Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.

Symptoms Of Stomach Pain Due To Stress

Stress can trigger gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers or common condition called nervous stomach. Panic, fear and anxiety stress can interfere with the digestive tract giving rise to symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gases in the abdomen, belching and acid reflux.

Both children as well as adults may experience stress related stomach problems. Stomach ulcer is considered to be a serious ailment as a result of prolonged stress. There is an ulcer formation due to excessive release of stomach acid, apart from H. Pylori being the right cause.

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Mindfulness Meditation And Breathing Techniques

Mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation have all been linked to evoking the relaxation response by reducing anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, and improving energy, concentration, and self-awareness.

This relaxation response is the opposite of your fight-or-flight impulse, which is your stress response. When you experience a relaxation response, your body no longer feels threatened by perceived danger, so your brain tells your gut it can safely revert to normal functioning.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated

What does an anxiety stomach ache feel like ...

An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You cant will it away. Its not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.

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How Can You Distinguish Indigestion From Stress

It may be challenging to differentiate stress-related abdominal pain from other forms of abdominal pain. They often present similar symptoms with the same intensity. And they can be linked.

Using probiotic supplements is your best bet to help control symptoms if you have food-related or common digestive issues. Chew your food thoroughly, slow down while you eat, and opt for easily digestible foods. Once your digestion is improved, it will be simple to tell if stress is elevating symptoms or creating your stomach pain.

Stomach pain can be a combination of stress as well as regular indigestion because of the connection between your mind and your gut. The gut microbiome is a critical portion of this link. There are 3 to 5 times more serotonin receptors in the gut than the brain. This may be the reason why the gut microbiome is closely linked to our mood state. So even if it begins as a physical ailment, stress can deteriorate any pre-existing stomach pain.

Another way to narrow down your primary triggers is by creating a daily pain diary with your doctor. When you begin to experience stomach pain, write down what foods youve consumed, the time of day, your current emotional state, and what kind of physical activity youve participated in. All of these points can help your physician conclude why you may be having pain.

The Guide to the Basics of the Gut-Brain Connection

The Parents Role Is Key

Its only natural that parents dont want to see their kids in distress or make them go to school when theyre worried that theyll throw up. That puts parents in a difficult spot. What we hear from parents is, We just let him stay home one day and one day led to three months, says Dr. Domingues. Its a slippery slope the child may ask to stay home more and more.

So we work with parents a lot around how to find that balance between enabling anxiety and meeting a child where they are, she adds. And we also give them statements that they can use to be empathic and encouraging at the same time. For instance: I know that this is really hard and you feel like youre sick. But we also know that this is anxiety, and you can get through it.

Sometimes setting up a reward system can help by giving a lot of positive reinforcement for kids pushing through their anxiety.

Parents also face the challenge of tolerating their own anxiety about pushing a child who says she is ill or worried about vomiting. If your kid is in distress and talking about not wanting to go to school or feeling sick or thinking they might throw up, says Dr. Domingues, then youre, as a parent, also anxious that that might happen.

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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.

How Do I Know If Its Anxiety And Not An Ulcer

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

Its not uncommon to find yourself concerned that your struggle with stomach pain is not from anxiety or stress at all. For example, you may find yourself concerned that instead of anxiety, what you are really struggling with is an ulcer.

Only a doctor can diagnose whether or not your pain is from an ulcer, but there are some clues. The clearest signal is if you have any blood in your stool or acid burps . Thats often a clear sign of an ulcer. Also, if the pain or discomfort tends to occur after eating and isnt related to a similar condition, GERD , its possible you may have an ulcer.

However, this is complicated by the fact that ulcers can be caused by long-term stress and anxiety, as they stimulate the production of extra stomach acid. This excess acid in the stomach breaks down the gastric or intestinal lining and cause open wounds that may harm your health.

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What To Do About Pain And Nausea From Anxiety

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.

What Causes Anxiety Chest Pain

When youre anxious, your body can and often does produce physical reactions like sweating or shortness of breath.

When you become anxious, your brain and body set off an immediate stress response. This includes a physiological change. Your body may tighten up or grow tense.

A stress response can also include a psychological or emotional response. You may become aggressive or upset more easily. These responses are referred to as the fight-or-flight response. When you become stressed or anxious, your body prepares to fight back or run away.

If you experience this fight-or-flight stress reaction infrequently, your body should fully recover within 30 minutes. But if you experience it frequently, your body cant recover as quickly. This can lead to increased muscle tension, and this tension may become painful in your chest.

Likewise, in an even more stressful moment, your heart rate may increase, and the force of your heartbeats can grow stronger. That combined with tight chest muscles can make you feel unusual pain.

If you feel anxious, there are some simple techniques you can try. These techniques may not work every time, but theyre a great starting point when you need help managing your anxiety.

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Here Are Two Signs Your Abdominal Pain Could Be Mental

Whether your stomach cramps strike every time you have to take a flight or before big work presentations, it could be a sign that youre so stressed its affecting your gut.

Theres a clear connection between the brain and our emotions and how our body feels, says Sperling. Realizing that your abdominal pain always crops up around moments of fear, stress, or anxiety can help you figure out that your emotions are behind the discomfort.

If you already know you have anxiety but are having a hard time managing this symptom, talk to your doctor or therapist to see if any tweaks in your treatment may help. If youre not sure your abdominal pain is connected with changes in your emotions, consider keeping a journal for a few weeks to chart how you feel and how your pain comes and goes in response.

In the event that your GI issues do seem tied with mental health concerns like anxiety, a mental health professional may be able to help you through methods like cognitive behavioral therapy . This form of therapy aims to help people identify and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors to live healthier, happier lives. If youre interested in trying it, heres a guide on how to find an affordable therapist.

While undeniably horrible in the moment, panic attacks are highly treatable with medication, therapy such as CBT, and coping mechanisms like deep breathing, according to the Mayo Clinic. See your doctor or therapist for help if you think youre having panic attacks.

Stress And Stomach Pain: When Should You See A Specialist

Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Wake up? Behind Your ...

Do you ever feel like theres a knot in your stomach when youre worried or stressed? Do nerves make you feel butterflies in your gut? If so, youre not alone.

As a gastroenterologist, a specialist in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, I help patients determine if their stomach pain is stress-related or if their symptoms are caused by a more serious condition.

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Can Stress Cause An Upset Stomach

Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach before giving a speech or right at the top of a roller coaster just before the plunge? Have you felt gutted after losing a big game, ending a relationship, or getting some bad news? Maybe youre going through a stressful time in your life and youve started experiencing stomach cramps or other digestive issues.

Stress can lead to an upset stomach as well as other digestive problems. While these symptoms arent uncommon, its important that you share this information with your doctor.

How To Handle It

Because the GI tract and anxiety are so closely related, its not always obvious what physical symptoms are caused by IBS, or anxiety, or IBS as a result of anxietyso it can be useful to take a two-pronged approach.

Reiner urges her clients to tackle the problem not just psychologically, but medically, as well. When someone is reporting debilitating stomach issues, I will first direct them to a gastroenterologist or primary care physician to rule out any underlying issues, she says. Even if your symptoms seem to be spiked by anxiety, there might be a physical cause that therapy or psychiatry alone cannot treat.

But if symptoms cant be fully treated through other means, there are practical ways of dealing with anxiety-induced GI discomfort when it arises. For some patients, Reiner suggests breathing exercises as a way to manage the physical symptoms, as well as the feeling of anxiety itself.

Diaphragmatic breathing relaxes your stomach, she says. Breathe in really slowly for about five counts, hold it in, and breathe it out for somewhere between six and eight counts. This can help turn on the rest-and-digest response, the bodys natural recovery mechanism to fight-or-flight, Reiner says.

Jodorkovsky says that hypervigilance is one pitfall you can try to avoid. When we are anxious, our bodies become hyper-aware of our symptoms, as if the nerve signals are amplified. This makes the symptoms even more distressing than they would otherwise be.

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