You might notice that whenever you’re stressed, you feel it in your stomach. Everything tightens up and you just get a feeling of dread or it feels like you have knots. That response is a physical manifestation of what’s going on emotionally as a reaction to stress.
But not only can you get pain in your stomach, but you can also get digestive issues, too. That’s because the mind and the body are working in tandem with each other. There’s an information highway between your brain and your digestive track.
Your digestive system contains neurons and the information sent can be impacted by what you feel that’s caused by the stress. Whenever you’re upset, your brain is sending out the signals that there’s a problem.
Everything is tightening up and your body is on high alert. Hormones are being released in abundance and you feel the effects. The brain is sending out warnings to your digestive system and it always responds.
So when you’re feeling the stress, your body gets these signals and can experience physical pain or other issues anywhere – but especially in the gut. Studies have shown that stress is a leading cause in receiving negative reactions from your digestive system.
There are numerous ways your digestive system will react. For example, stress can cause you to develop stomach cramps – the kind of cramps that make you lose your appetite and think you’re coming down with something.
You might have been fine before, but then you started feeling anxious as a result of the stressor, and the next thing you know, you’re clutching your stomach. Or you’ll start to feel bloated or even nauseous.
Stress can cause inflammation in your gastrointestinal system, too. You can develop issues with gas in your digestive system and experience pain from this. Every area of your digestive system can be affected by stress because it can disrupt the normal process.
Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases and all of a sudden, you have indigestion. You feel sick to your stomach. In some cases, if the stress is prolonged, it can lead to episodes of vomiting.
Sometimes, stress can impact your digestive system to the point where it underperforms. When that happens, you can end up with constipation. Other times, it might kick your digestive system into high gear, and you develop diarrhea.
Or, you can swing between constipation and diarrhea. That’s because stress can cause the system to slow down or it can speed it up. Stress can cause the production of stomach acid to rev up and you end up with more than you need.
When you get this excess of stomach acid, it can lead to ulcers. The gut bacteria in your digestive system can be affected because of stress. When this gets out of balance, it can cause any conditions that you have to experience an increase in side effects.