Could This Be Causing Your Stomach Pain?

Sometimes, stomach issues can be hard to understand. If you didn’t eat any “problem” foods or don’t have a stomach bug, what could possibly be causing your digestive issues?

It might be stress. Stress, especially chronic stress, raises the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues. It can impact the digestive system through the nervous system, affecting food movement and the balance of gut bacteria. Stress can also cause people to eat poorly, which may also lead to symptoms.

Outside of the brain, the gut has the greatest area of nerves. Neurons lining the digestive tract signal muscle cells to contract to help move food through, breaking it down into nutrients and waste. The interaction between the enteric system in the gut and the central nervous system is known as the “gut-brain axis” and may help explain why stress can cause digestive problems.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress may exacerbate or increase the risk of the following conditions:

  • bloating, burping, gas
  • heartburn, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • ulcers
  • inflammatory bowel syndrome

Stress may contribute to bloating, burping, and gassiness by making swallowing difficult. It can also slow the digestive process, allowing gut bacteria to create gas. Exercise may help alleviate this.

Emotional stress may lead to increased stomach acid production, which can lead to heartburn, acid reflux, and exacerbate GERD. To help alleviate these systems, avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, eat smaller meals, and avoid eating too close to bedtime.

Stress hormones can also lead to diarrhea or constipation and divert blood away from the intestines and cause the digestive process to come to a halt.

It’s possible your stomach issues are caused by stress. Think about how potential stressors in your life could be manifesting in your gut, and work on ways to manage them.

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