Have you ever wondered why after an argument, your stomach feels like it’s “tied in knots”? Or why, you get “butterflies” in your stomach before a stressful situation? Have you ever had an unexpectedly long encounter with the toilet that wasn’t triggered by something you ate? One of the most common signs of stress and anxiety is stomach problems.
A strong connection between the gut and the brain has been discovered by researchers. Nerves are a plenty in the stomach, just as they are in the brain. The digestive tract and the brain share several nerve connections, making it the largest region of nerves outside the brain.
Stress can take a physical toll on your digestive system, whether it’s from a single nerve-jangling incident or from constant worry and stress over time. The hormones and chemicals produced by your body when you are stressed interact with your digestive tract, interfering with digestion. They reduce antibody development and have a harmful impact on gut flora (microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and help digestion). A chemical imbalance can occur, which can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
The following are some of the most common stress-related gut symptoms and conditions:
- stomach cramps
- loss of appetite
- unnatural hunger
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- and peptic ulcers
Once you have one or more of these symptoms or conditions, it can itself often become a source of anxiety and have a significant effect on your quality of life. Many anxiety sufferers with diarrhoea, for example, develop a fear of having unfortunate accidents, sometimes making them afraid to leave the house or go to certain locations. If you have stomach cramps or indigestion, you can become afraid of these symptoms, limiting where, when and what you eat, which can have a negative effect on your social life.
Seek the advice of an anxiety-focused therapist. Dealing with chronic worry and complex anxiety on your own is often too difficult. A knowledgeable Cognitive Behavioral therapist would know exactly what to do.
Reducing stress and its effects on the stomach requires time. These recommendations can be effective if they are implemented correctly and made a regular goal. Expecting immediate results and a complete absence of symptoms, on the other hand, would just add to your irritation and symptoms. Accepting a certain amount of abdominal pain is crucial.
Finally, consider your eating habits. Certain foods are known to cause stomach irritation. Consult a doctor and try the medical therapies that are prescribed. Many stomach problems cannot be overcome solely by reducing stress. When attempting to overcome gut-related issues, you must consider biological, psychological, and social factors.