Does your stomach hurt when you have anxiety? (+11 Ways to cope)
The current blogpost will be answering if your stomach hurts when you have anxiety. We will also be discussing the reason behind your stomach hurting when you have anxiety, while listing out a few ways to cope with this problem.
Does your stomach hurt when you have anxiety?
Yes, your stomach hurts when you have anxiety. However, this symptom is not experienced by everyone who is going through anxiety or stress. At the same time, a large percentage of the population experiences stomach pain when they are anxious.
Apart from stomach pain, the other symptoms of anxiety generally include:
- An increase in breathing rate
- An increase in heart rate
- Increase in decision-making ability
- Improved muscle tension
- An increase in sweating
Reason for stomach-pain during anxiety
Not everyone who has anxiety experiences stomach pain. But, a sizable percentage of people experience stomach pain, stomach knotting, feeling butterflies in the stomach and other stomach-related problems.
The main reason for stomach pain or any type of stomach-related problems during anxiety is because of the Enteric Nervous System which is stimulated in times of stress. This nervous system is connected to the brain and therefore, any stress experienced will affect the stomach.
This is because the Enteric Nervous System is basically millions of nerve connections which surround the stomach. Whenever you are stressed, your brain releases stress neuro-transmitters which also affect the ENS and in turn the stomach.
Along with stomach pain, which is mostly caused by the stomach-cramping, the person may experience nausea, vomiting and even indigestion. In chronic cases, the stress may also lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
How to cope with stomach-pain during anxiety?
If you are experiencing a lot of stomach-pain as a result of anxiety or stress, the first thing that you will need to do is to seek medical help to rule out any other problem. You can also consult with a mental health professional who might prescribe medication or therapy.
In the following list, we have outlined a few easy coping techniques that you can use to reduce your stomach-pain caused by anxiety.
Sip some cool water
If you are experiencing stomach pain as a result of your anxiety, you can try sipping on some cool water slowly. Many people who have experienced stomach pain as a result of their anxiety have found this method useful.
However, you need to remember that the water should not be too cold since this can upset your stomach even further. You can even use antacid tablets in water to calm your stomach down when you are going through an anxiety attack.
Change your diet
Since it is about your stomach, you can also try changing your diet to ease your pain. When you are going through stomach pain, you can even try eating some soft foods to help in bowel movement and to make the pain go away.
For example, eating more fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains can help in bowel movement. You can also include probiotics in your diet. If you are confused about what diet to follow, you can even set up an appointment with a dietitian.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol
Certain foods like coffee and alcohol can upset your stomach even more, and can only worsen the symptoms of any anxiety that you might be experiencing. By limiting the caffeine and alcohol in your diet, you will be able to prevent the stomach pain from worsening.
Take breaks during work
Working too hard may sound really great for your bank account, but in the long run can lead to problems in both physical and mental health. Putting in long and hard hours at work can also increase your anxiety levels, which can lead to stomach pain.
Therefore, when you are working, you need to remember to take breaks often. This will help your mind and body de-stress, therefore avoiding anxiety attacks which can cause stomach pain. Furthermore, breaks can actually boost your performance and make you a smart-worker.
Try deep breathing
Certain breathing exercises can also help in reducing the symptoms of anxiety that you may be experiencing. Therefore, if you are having stomach pain due to an increase in your anxiety levels, you can try deep breathing activities.
There are numerous such breathing exercises to choose from, but simply inhaling and exhaling slowly will do. You can also use smart breathing devices which can provide the necessary bio-feedback to bring down your anxiety levels.
Practice meditation or yoga
Even meditation and yoga have been found to be extremely useful to cope with stomach pain, especially that which is caused by anxiety. Meditation can help in destressing since it allows you to banish negative thoughts from your mind and imbibe only good ones.
Yoga, on the other hand, is focused on aligning your energies, particularly those radiating from your mind and your stomach. Certain yoga poses like ‘Apanasana’ and ‘Ardha Matsyendrasana’ can further add to the flexibility and digestion, therefore reducing stomach pain.
Try sleep hygiene practices
The quantity and quality of sleep that you get also affects your mental health. If you haven’t been sleeping well for a long time, this can increase your anxiety levels and even instigate stomach pain, aches and indigestion.
Therefore, one way to cope with your stomach pain caused by anxiety is to simply improve the quality of your sleep. You can do this by incorporating sleep hygiene practices like changing your mattress, investing in black-out curtains or using a weighted blanket.
Try complementary medicine
Apart from medical treatment, complementary medicine can also help in easing stomach discomfort and pain caused by anxiety. For example, using essential oils as part of aromatherapy can definitely help in easing your stomach pain.
You can use the essential oils by inhaling the scent, or even spraying a few drops on your pillow as part of sleep hygiene and even diffusing the scent in your home to create an overall calming atmosphere.
Certain types of massage can also ease the stomach pain caused by anxiety. Firstly, massage generally relaxes the muscles and lowers your anxiety levels. Furthermore, massage of the abdomen area can help in loosening up the cramps and knots in your stomach.
Quit dangerous habits
If you are a smoker or an alcoholic, know well that these habits can definitely lead to more anxiety and therefore, more stomach pain. Smoking and alcohol are also addictive behaviors, which further cause mental stress and anxiety.
Try regular physical exercise
Regular exercise can improve your bowel movement and your flexibility which can reduce your feelings of stomach pain. In addition to that, physical exercise releases positive neurotransmitters which can bring down your anxiety levels and calm your Enteric Nervous System.
Furthermore, physical exercise can also improve your self-esteem and your self-confidence, leading to a reduction of your anxiety levels. In addition to this, physical exercise boosts blood flow, which is important for coping with pain and anxiety.
Go to therapy
Another thing that you can try for your stomach pain, if it is being caused by anxiety, is to go to therapy. Therapy can help you express yourself and your insecurities without feeling judged. Furthermore, therapy can also give you other coping strategies and techniques to try.
The current blogpost has answered if your stomach hurts when you have anxiety. We have also discussed the reason behind your stomach hurting when you have anxiety, while listing out a few ways to cope with this problem.
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