Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Anxiety, when prolonged or intense, can manifest in our physical bodies. Also known as psychosomatic manifestations, the state of our minds affect our bodies. Anxious people are commonly seen to have gastric disturbances, such as sudden urges and loose motions or the extreme—severe gastritis (acid reflux). Let’s talk a little more about “stomach pain” today.
Stomach pains, cramps and intestinal discomfort that seem causeless and are hard to describe can be the result of persistent anxiety.
Diagnosing Anxiety Stomach Pain
Stomach pains that are caused by anxiety look/feel similar to those caused by infections or indigestion. Hence, practitioners usually treat the stomach pains symptomatically first, bypassing/ignoring the possible mental or emotional root causes of the person’s stomach pains. Only when the pain comes back after multiple symptomatic treatments does the practitioner look for its emotional causatives. No matter how much you try to treat the physical symptoms, the stomach pains won’t go away until you address the root issue—anxiety.
Examples of Anxiety-Related Stomach Issues
Anxiety results in many issues, such as discomfort in the abdomen in various forms:
Abdominal Stress/Abdominal Spasms tend to cause a great deal of tension in the abdomen. It causes an internal feeling of discomfort and can tire out your abdominal muscles.
Digestive Disturbances: Hormone levels become imbalanced when you are stressed. In the body, there are hormones used to aid in digestion. When these hormones are imbalanced, it results in indigestion, causing bloatedness, intestinal pain, and more.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Anxiety has been linked to being one of the main causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS occurs when your body’s digestive system is functioning poorly without a definite underlying cause; it can result in altered bowel movements and abdominal discomfort.
Anxiety also causes a release of the stress hormone Cortisol, resulting in the increase of stomach acid production. The increase of acidity in the stomach causes the oesophagus lining to become irritated. This can lead to stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, and in severe cases, stress-induced ulcers. These are just a few ways that anxiety can cause pain or cause negative stomach sensations.
Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain?
Stress and anxiety are closely related with each other. You might feel anxious when stressed and feel stressed when anxious. However, stress and anxiety are still emotionally different from each other. For some individuals, rather than feeling anxious when stressed, they can feel sad or frustrated. Nevertheless, whether the person is feeling anxious or stressed, their emotional state can manifest in the physical as stomach pains.
How Do I Know if It's Anxiety and Not an Ulcer?
It's 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 (if you also have acid reflux). That's often a clear sign of an ulcer. Also, if the pain or discomfort tends to occur after eating and isn't related to a similar condition, GERD (heartburn/acid reflux), it's possible you may have an ulcer.
Yet, even that tends to be a bit more complicated. First, there is some evidence that ulcers can be caused by long term stress and anxiety. The acids in the stomach break down the gastric or intestinal lining and cause open wounds that may harm your health.
Stomach Pain and Long Term Health
Because of the extra acids in your stomach and the changes to the way your body processes nutrients, the stomach pain from anxiety can actually 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 that it should be diagnosed early and treated holistically, because the effects of the same, if left unmanaged it may have long term health effects that can take longer time to settle.
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.
Are There Foods That Reduce Stomach Pain?
Anxiety related stomach pain is not usually the result of your diet (although there are some diet and sedentary lifestyles may increase the risk of anxiety), so there aren't necessarily any dietary changes that can help reduce stomach pain.
That said, those with panic attacks are more prone to experiencing more severe stomach discomfort, even when no anxiety is present. In other words, when you have panic attacks, it's possible to have stomach pain even without a panic attack.
Also, those with anxiety attacks and severe anxiety are prone to what's known as "over-sensitization." That means that they are more likely to notice and feel smaller, normal changes in the body, and these can trigger an anxiety attack. So if your diet does contain foods that cause you gas, stomach discomfort, or mild indigestion, it may be best to avoid them because the slight amount of discomfort could feel worse than it should, and may trigger a panic attack.
That's why healthy eating in those that get stomach pain with anxiety is important. Make sure you're getting:
Also, if there is stress-induced hyperacidity, taking bland diet is advisable. In addition, if possible, try to avoid eating until you're too full. Those with severe anxiety sometimes interpret the "full" feeling as pain, and this could trigger a panic attack and further pain.
Wide Range of Symptoms
One of the more amazing issues with some types of anxiety disorder is the way that they change sensations in our body. For example, for many, feeling full is a nice feeling. However, it can lead to a variety of natural body sensations, including:
Slight stomach discomfort
In those without anxiety, these are natural. In people suffering some some degree of anxiety, those sensations feel much more pronounced and can trigger a full-blown panic attack.
Best way to Relieve anxiety induced Stomach aches
The anxiety induced stomach pains are hard to settle completely with specific treatments like antacids or cooling food substances. When your body is under stress, your stomach tends to hurt as a result based on the over secretion of acids in your stomach. Common things that might trigger this are inadequate sleep, intense emotions, continuous anxious thoughts, Long working hours and such. Thus If you have stomach pain as a result of anxiety, you may need to relieve it holistically; a mind- body approach to achieve full recovery.
How Homeopathy Helps
A Homeopath will rarely miss the anxiety causative in your stomach pain picture as he does not take symptomatic approach but a holistic one. That means if you consult him for your stomach pains, he will probe deeper than just the symptoms of your stomach pains. He might ask you questions like what are the usual causes or times that you get the stomach pain? Is there any stressful situation that you are going through? How long they have been and what all treatments have you already taken?
All these questions are helping him to diagnose the stomach pain accurately whether it is simply physical or physical due to an underlying psychological cause.
Homeopathy has Long recognised the psychological origin of somatic (body) symptoms. It recognises the patient's mental make-up in all cases and remedies are given acting at the level of mind and body together, thus boosting the body to uproot the illness from the cause.
Perhaps no other system has a superb approach of taking the mind-body disorders with definite therapeutic agents.
Homeopathic remedies are capable of influencing the state of mind. They act specifically to alleviate emotional disturbance such as excessive anxiety, irritability, insecurity, obsessive traits, undue jealousy, suspicion, fears, depression, neurosis etc. By relieving the emotions above, Homeopathy can bring about a harmonious state of health.
Thus Homeopathy demonstrates the possibility of the highest goal of medicine, the therapy for the person rather than for the disease alone. Thus the effects or improvements produced are long lasting and sustained even after stopping the intake of the remedies.
The information about homeopathy featured on this website has been provided by clients, content publicly available on the world wide web, and from statutory regulated medical professionals who use homeopathy in their practice. The information is not a substitute for medical advice and anyone with serious concerns about their health should consult an appropriate healthcare professional.