Stress has become a part of our life in today’s world. Millions or perhaps billions of people live under stressful condition. While many of us consider stress to be a mental ailment, it is not so. Stress can have serious implications on all spheres; emotional, mental as well as physical.
Stomach pain due to stress is not uncommon. Perhaps at least 30 to 50% of people, who live under stressful condition, may feel its effect in their stomach. Panic, anxiety and other stressful conditions can interfere with the nervous system of the body.Stress can disturb normal functioning of stomach and intestine producing symptoms such as stomach cramps, indigestion, diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disorder.
How Stress Causes Stomach Pain?
This type of stomach pain due to stress is also called functional gastrointestinal disorder. There is no organic reason such as infection or cancer etc found in such cases. Our body has complex network of nerves. It begins from the brain and reaches to almost all the body part.
The intestinal nervous system helps the food to get digested and to expel the remnant waste from the body.The neurons direct the muscles of intestine to contract and break down the food. It becomes easy for the nutrients to get absorbed from the intestinal wall. However, stress can interfere with normal mechanism of digestion.
When a person is under stress, the brain releases hormones and chemicals to fight or fly the situation. This hormones and chemicals enter the digestive system and increase the intestinal motility causing conditions such as diarrhea and stomach pain. On the other way round, if the nervous system slows down the digestive process and resources all the internal energy to fight stress, it may give rise to constipation and stomach pain.
Most of the time minor events like attending an important meeting, public speaking or giving an exam etc may trigger a stressful response in people leading to gastrointestinal disturbance and stomach pain.
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.
How To Relieve Stomach Pain From Stress?
If the stomach pain and well as other symptoms are caused exceptionally due to stress, the logical therapy is to focus on how to reduce stress. There are several ways that can help.
- Exercise: exercising daily greatly relieves stress level. Any form of exercise may help. Simple walking for 45 minutes, or cycling for 20 minutes or swimming, cardiovascular exercise all increase the release of feel good hormones in the body and thus the person feels better.
- Sleep: insomnia is one of the reasons for increase in stress. Sleep regularly for at least 7 hours. This will allow you to reduce your stress level.
- Good to communicate: when you are stressed, talk to your friend or family member about your worries. This will help to lighten your feelings and at the same time by discussing, you may find a way to deal the stressful situation.
- Some relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, massage and deep breathing also help to alleviate stress and related stomach pain.
- At times cognitive behavioral therapy also helps deal with stress and stomach pain arising from it.