Your stomach and stress in everyday life
Hours of traffic every day, endless meetings, and motivating your kids to finish their homework may be some of the reasons you feel stressed. Did you know that this stress can cause belly pain?
How can stress cause abdominal pain?
There is a connection between your brain and your belly. When you're stressed, the brain sets off alarms that can cause the activity within your belly to be altered, and this could cause pain such as cramps and discomfort.
Getting cramps when you least expect it can be uncomfortable. Even if mild, they can make you feel unwell.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Being under stress can increase IBS-related symptoms like belly pain.
Stress increases the production of certain hormones, which can cause you to overeat and lead to cramps and discomfort.
Drinking and smoking
Cigarettes and alcohol can negatively impact your overall health and may also harm your belly. These habits could lead to discomfort that increases stress.
Why does it affect me?
Stress: the common enemy of your body and mind
Did you know that your brain is connected to your gut? This connection causes both areas to exchange signals when one of them isn't OK. Stress can become so intense that it creates a vicious emotional and physical cycle, which can lead to discomfort or belly pain. Break this cycle to help you feel better.
Tips and suggestions
Habits to help manage stress
Strike a healthy balance in your life by making changes that will help you reduce the pain caused by stress affecting your body and mind.
Light exercise reduces stress and can make you feel good:
- Move after a meal
-Light exercise such as yoga, walking and cycling can help reduce abdominal pain. See what works for you
- Massaging your abdominal area can help to relieve sensations of tightness, cramping and bloating
Improve your gut flora
A well-balanced, healthy gut helps manage stress. Including fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet will improve your intestinal flora.
Meditate for better sleep
Meditating before going to bed will help you relax and avoid nights of little or poor sleep.
Live in the moment
Laugh out loud, watch a movie with your partner, or take your pet for a walk. Be present and enjoy the big and little moments in life.
Connect with loved ones
Socializing with family and friends can help you feel connected and supported as well as take your mind off your problems.
Do you have additional questions about the connection between belly pain and stress?
Abdominal cramps are caused by sudden, strong tightening of muscles. Buscopan® is an antispasmodic medication that offers targeted relief of abdominal cramps, pain and discomfort in the stomach and gut (intestines and bowel) by relaxing the tight muscles – it acts where the pain develops, in the abdomen.
Stressful situations can affect mobility in the intestine and impact the sensitivity of your belly, making it more prone to feeling pain.
If you have IBS, stress can be a factor that causes pain due to the alteration of the belly's nervous system during stressful moments. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and a healthy diet, can help ease this pain.
The brain and the belly are linked by the brain-gut axis. This connection drives the stress that affects one area to impact the other. For example, being stressed can cause the feeling of knots in your belly, while on the other hand a knot in your belly can make you stressed.
Stress occurs for very different reasons and can be different for each person. It can occur due to work situations, conflicts with a partner, the death of a loved one, everyday life problems, or even physical discomfort.
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Sanofi-Aventis Canada Inc. (2021). Prescribing information and patient medication information
*Buscopan® is a substance that blocks the effect of acetylcholine (neurotransmitter). Side affects are generally mild and limited.