Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain? The Core Reasons

Fascinated by the mysterious link between stress and stomach pain, uncover surprising insights that may change how you view emotional turmoil.
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Stress can create a storm in our stomachs, leading to discomfort. This could make one wonder, can stress cause physical pain? 1 Let’s look at how stress and stomach problems are linked.

You might be experiencing pain points like stomach aches or indigestion. We’ll help you understand how stress may be causing these issues. Finally, we’ll offer solutions to manage your stress and reduce your stomach pain.

Key Takeaways

  • Stress affects gut movement, leading to stomach cramps and discomfort.
  • The gut’s bacterial balance is disturbed by stress hormones and neurotransmitters.
  • Stress impacts brain-gut communication, exacerbating habits like smoking and high caffeine intake.

This blog is part of a series on “physical symptoms of stress“. The next blog will answer: Can stress cause heartburn?

The Connection Between Stress and Stomach Pain

You know how we sometimes get tummy aches during tense times? Well, it turns out there’s a whole science behind it. Our brains and bellies are like two peas in a pod, chatting away through this thing called the enteric nervous system.

When we’re stressed, the system springs into action, and not always in a good way. It decides to play havoc with our gut motility, leading to unpleasant stomach cramps.

Stress also has a knack for unleashing hormones and neurotransmitters that disrupt the harmony of our gut bacteria. It’s like throwing a monkey wrench into the works, upping the ante on our abdominal discomfort.

Now, let’s not forget our everyday habits. Anxiety, puffing on that cigarette, one too many beers or cups of joe can all add fuel to this belly-burning fire. They can negatively impact our gut health, ramping up the discomfort in our midsections.

We can all agree that a little self-care goes a long way in soothing that nagging stress-induced bellyache. Here are four strategies we can all use to keep our stomachs happy and stress-free:

  • Mindfulness Practices: What if we all took a moment to just breathe? Simple activities like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help us relax and lower our stress levels. This isn’t some new-age mumbo jumbo, it’s science!
  • Regular Exercise: We don’t have to run marathons (unless that’s your thing, of course). Just a little physical activity each day can release those feel-good endorphins which in turn, can help us shake off stress and boost our overall sense of well-being.
  • Healthy Eating Habits: Now, I’m not saying to give up pizza, but adding a little more fiber, fruits, and vegetables to our plates can support our gut health and reduce those stress-induced tummy troubles. It’s a win-win!
  • Adequate Hydration: Lastly, remember the old eight glasses a day rule? It’s not just good for your skin. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help with digestion and prevent dehydration, which can make stomach discomfort worse.

Tips for Alleviating Stress-Induced Stomach Pain

Can stress cause diarrhea

Deep breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques, when we make them part of our daily routine, can be our besties in evoking that much-needed relaxation response.

Regular physical activities, like yoga or walking, are more than just fitness buddies. These activities help us release endorphins – our body’s natural pain and stress fighters. Think of it as a two-for-one deal. Stress reduction and stomach discomfort alleviation all in one package.

Spicy, fatty meals might taste heavenly, but they’re not the best pals for our stressed-out tummies. So, let’s try to keep those at arm’s length.

And lastly, don’t shy away from seeking support. A chat with a therapist or counselor could arm us with all the right tools to tackle stress and keep our stomachs happy. And remember, it’s all about balance. Weaving in self-care, setting boundaries, and introducing stress-relieving activities like meditation into our lifestyle can be the secret recipe to combat stress-related stomach pain.


When you feel stress and your stomach hurts, it’s not just in your mind. Taking care of your mental health can help your stomach feel better.

Try things like self-care and relaxation techniques. Ask for help when you need it. Doing these things can make your stomach feel better. It’s a good idea to remember to take breaks and relax. This can help reduce stress and keep your stomach feeling good.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Tell if Stomach Issues Are From Stress?

To figure out if stress is causing your stomach issues, look for symptoms like cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Triggers may include anxiety, smoking, alcohol, and caffeine. Chronic stress might result in ongoing stomach problems, so take note of the duration and patterns of your stomach pain. If these symptoms persist, it’s advisable to seek medical help to eliminate the possibility of other underlying conditions causing your discomfort.

What Should I Do if My Stomach Hurts From Stress?

If your stomach hurts due to stress, prioritizing self-care is imperative. Acknowledge stressors and seek assistance if required. Utilize relaxation strategies and adjust your diet. Managing this stress-related pain is crucial to improving your health. Remember, your well-being matters.

What Does an Anxious Stomach Feel Like?

An anxious stomach can feel like a knot or fluttering in your stomach, often accompanied by nausea or indigestion. You might also experience changes in your bowel habits or appetite. This discomfort can lead to a heightened sense of bodily awareness and unease. It’s crucial to recognize these symptoms and handle them appropriately.

What Are GI Symptoms of Anxiety?

Anxiety can affect our gastrointestinal system, resulting in symptoms like stomach pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or acid reflux. Anxiety and stress can influence gut health, thus it’s critical to manage stress for better digestive wellness. Mental wellness plays a key role in maintaining good digestive health.

  1. Stress-related stomach pain: When to see a doctor – UChicago Medicine[]
Alex Reijnierse
Alex Reijnierse

Alex Reijnierse is a stress management expert with over a decade of experience in helping individuals effectively manage and reduce stress. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) and has a background in high-pressure environments, which has given him firsthand experience in dealing with chronic stress.

The articles on this website are fact-checked, with sources cited where relevant. They also reflect personal experiences in dealing with the effects of stress and its management. When in doubt, consult with a certified healthcare professional. See also the disclaimer.