Anxiety and stress are common conditions affecting individuals all over the World. One of the potential symptoms can be stomach pains. The two are often linked, where anxiety leads to physical symptoms such as stomach pain. This connection can cause significant distress in affected individuals’ lives, affecting their well-being and daily functioning. Several research studies suggest a strong link between anxiety, and stomach pains (nervous stomach). Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment option for people with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
The Gut-Brain Connection: How Stress and Anxiety Affect Your Digestive System
The gut-brain axis, is a delicate network of communication channels connecting the gut to the brain, influencing each other’s function. There’s a great book, The Mind-gut connection, by Emeran Mayer, which explains in detail how this direct line of connection works and how it affects our body and mind. Anxiety and stress can affect your digestive system’s functionality. It can happen by disrupting this communication channel and causing physical symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea. This relationship between anxiety and digestion is vital to understand. Chronic anxiety as well as sustained levels of stress can lead to long-term functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). This impact an individual’s quality of life negatively.
The causes of FGID are not entirely clear. Studies reveal a complex interplay between mental health factors like stressors, anxiety, or depression with lifestyle choices. Common triggers include poor dietary habits like overconsumption of fats and sugars and processed foods that promote inflammation in the gut leading to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Alcohol intake, smoking, or lack of exercise also play significant roles in exacerbating FGIDs symptoms. The good news is certain interventions such as probiotics have shown significant reduction effects on IBS discomfort. In contrast, others like Hypnotherapy offer long-term help for managing chronic generalized anxiety disorder(GAD) or sustained levels of stress.
Types of Stomach Pain Associated with Anxiety: Symptoms and Diagnosis
There are various types of stomach pain that can be associated with anxiety. One type is generalized abdominal pain, usually experienced as a dull ache or pressure in the mid to upper abdomen. This kind of pain may worsen when someone is feeling anxious and improve once they have calmed down. Another type of stomach pain is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is characterized by abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, and changes in stool frequency or form.
Additionally, acid reflux disease may also be triggered by anxiety-related stress. Doctors explore a patient’s medical history and physical examination results to diagnose anxiety-associated stomach pains. They may also conduct tests to rule out other potential health conditions. This could contribute to the symptoms observed before proceeding with treatment options like relaxation techniques for lifestyle improvements or psychotherapies. Please note that nausea is not a typical IBS symptom and should be looked into by a doctor if persistent.
As a first stop, having a consultation with a doctor can provide a diagnosis with a treatment plan. A sooner rather than later diagnosis can help with any prolonged impacts. Daily routines affect mental wellness eventually impacting their overall well-being.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Cause Stomach Pain: Diet, Exercise, and Sleep
Anxiety and stomach pain often go hand in hand, as it affects the nervous system. But there are lifestyle changes individuals can make to alleviate their symptoms. There are two important factors, stress levels and diet. Eating a balanced and varied diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation in the gut and promote healthy microbiota. Through research studies, we now know that a healthy microbiome is linked to better mental health. It’s also essential to avoid trigger foods. Exercise is another powerful tool for reducing anxiety and soothing stomach pain. Regular exercise can reduce stress levels while releasing endorphins that boost mood. Simple activities like walking or yoga can be beneficial for those experiencing anxiety-related stomach issues; such as cramps bloating, and general discomfort.
Lastly, getting adequate sleep each night is crucial for managing both anxiety and digestive problems. A lack of sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms as well as lead to increased sensitivity in the gut. Plus many other negative impacts a lack or poor sleep has in the long term.
Overall embracing a healthier lifestyle by prioritizing your physical health and your mental fitness will not just help alleviate present conditions but have long-term results too!
When to Seek Professional Help for Anxiety and Stomach Pain: Therapy and Other Options
Anxiety and stomach pain can be an indication of a much deeper problem that requires attention; we also know, in some cases, FGID can be a symptom of anxiety. If one experiences anxiety-related stomach pain, for example, it is advisable to seek professional help from a mental health specialist or medical practitioner. Seeking therapy sessions may be especially important for those whose anxiety causes significant stress in their life, leading to physical manifestations like stomach problems. Treating the underlying cause of these conditions, and noting how the body is under stress, can go beyond just managing the symptoms; which could be linked to anxiety and depression; and working on such issues can relieve stomach pain.
It’s worth noting that other forms of treatment options exist beyond clinical therapy and hypnotherapy for these common symptoms. Lifestyle choices, as mentioned before, like a nutritious and varied diet, exercise and practising relaxation techniques like meditation may aid in managing stress and reducing anxiety levels. Engaging in positive social activities with friends or family members also promotes positive self-care practices sometimes required by individuals struggling with anxiety-induced illnesses.
Does stress cause stomach pain?
Sustained levels of stress can have physical manifestations. One way in which sustained stress levels tend to appear in the body is as stomach discomfort, or sometimes even stomach ulcer. IBS, usually diagnosed by a doctor, can be caused by chronic stress and anxiety.
How to treat anxiety stomach pain?
It should be treated by addressing the core cause of anxiety, usually done through talking therapies. In conjunction with a clinical doctor who can assess any physical damage produced and how to reduce those symptoms. Stomach pains can be a stress response when experiencing sustained levels of stress or anxiety.
How can I help my anxious mind?
If you are constantly struggling with anxiety, it can be challenging to navigate life with peace and ease. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your anxious mind. For starters, seeking professional help such as therapy, self-care routines, and relaxation techniques can all work wonders in helping you ease your anxious mind. Different forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or hypnotherapy, can provide you with the tools necessary to identify and change your patterns of thinking that can lead to anxious feelings. Additionally, taking care of yourself through practices such as regular exercise, yoga, meditation, or simply taking a bath can be helpful for relaxation purposes. When struggling with anxiety, it is essential to be patient and gentle with yourself as you navigate this challenging journey.
Can Hypnotherapy Help Me With Gut-Related Symptoms?
In a study done by Palsson, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2015; it was found that hypnotherapy was an effective treatment for functional gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS. Hypnotherapy would talk to your enteric nervous system, through gut-directed hypnotherapy. You can also read my article on 6 things that can help with IBS stomach pain, which are relevant to this topic.
How Long Can It Take For Anxiety-Related Stomach Issues To Be Reduced?
In most of the cases I have worked with people experiencing gut health issues affected by stress, they noted a difference in their symptoms within the first two sessions. Of course, the course of treatment, and length will depend on individual issues. And the mental health professional you choose to work with. We usually work to understand the cause of your anxiety, and help you figure out if it is linked to stress. Which could have been experienced years before, and only flared up now. Work with several interventions -whichever would be most effective on you-, including progressive muscle relaxation.
Why Choose Hypnotherapy To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Stress?
Hypnotherapy has been studied and proven to be one of the most successful talking therapies to help relieve symptoms of IBS, but also to have a long-term effect. In my practice, I see how people are making positive transformations in a short amount of time.