At the very least, stomach pain is painful and frustrating.

At its worse, stomach pain can be very debilitating — making it impossible to eat, travel, or sleep well. If your diet and physical wellbeing haven’t improved, but you’ve had more stomach pain recently, it could be a sign of stress.


Experts in integrative medicine and neuroscience have been researching on how to distinguish indigestion from stress-induced stomach pain.


Does stress trigger pain in the stomach?

Stomach discomfort has multiple causes, and stress can be one of them. This can interact with digestion due to the intestine’s connection to the brain through the vagus nerve. Our stomach and intestines have their unique nervous network called the enteric nervous network. These nerves react to the same stress hormones and neurotransmitters as our brains do. The chemicals you produce while you’re worried will invade the digestive system and interrupt the digestion cycle, triggering abdominal pain.


How do you differentiate stress-induced pain from indigestion?

It can be challenging to differentiate stress-related abdominal pain from other abdominal pain types. They sometimes show the same signs, with the same severity, and they may be related.


If you have specific digestive or diet-related disorders, taking probiotic supplements is the best option to relieve symptoms better. When the metabolism is balanced, it is easier to know whether discomfort triggers stomach pain or merely increases symptoms.


Stomach pain may be a mixture of natural indigestion and discomfort due to the link between the head and the intestine. The intestinal microbiota is an essential part of this link. There are three to five times more serotonin receptors in the intestine than the brain; this may be why the intestinal microbiome is closely related to our mood. Therefore, even though it starts as a physical disorder, stress can intensify any pre-existing stomach pain.


One way to narrow down the fundamental causes is by keeping a routine pain log for your doctor. If you begin to feel stomach pain, write down the time of day, what meal you’ve consumed, what type of physical exercise you’ve taken part in, and the present mental condition. 

Both of these things will help the doctor find out why you have discomfort. It’s always important to bear in mind that stress generally affects the entire body — not just digestion — which may lead to fast breathing, a general sense of nervousness, which rushing thoughts.


Within a short timeline, abdominal pain always occurs after the stressor happens. It’s acute for some people, and it’s a little sluggish for others. When you can name a stressor—whether physical or emotional—responsible for the suffering, you will handle it until it is troublesome.


How to deal with stress-related stomach pain?

When you feel the stress is caused, one of the easiest, first aid ways to quell anxiety-or stress-induced stomach pain is to practice slow breathing. It helps our intestines and brains to interact with each other and encourages them to start calming down. Treating chronic stress is mandatory to feel long term relief. 


You have to manage your stress, the same as you manage your sports and dietary routine.


Whether your stomach pain is due to indigestion or fatigue, it’s essential to pay attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. The more you know the symptoms and what induces them, the more you can grasp what you need to do to minimize these emotions and safely treat them. When you have regular or severe abdominal pain, make sure to speak to the doctor and get to the root of the problem to decide the right course of action.


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