Stress and stomach pain

Rush hour, endless meetings, helping the kids with their homework…all these things can stress us out. And stress can trigger abdominal discomfort and IBS.

  •  Situations

Why does stress cause stomach pain?

There’s a connection between your brain and your gut. When you're stressed, the brain sets off alarms that can upset activity in your bowel and trigger IBS. In fact, 62% of IBS sufferers say that stress can cause their symptoms1. There's also evidence to suggest that stress and anxiety may trigger chemical changes in the digestive system in many people. Not just those with IBS. All of this means that stress and stomach pain are (rather annoyingly) linked.

Cramps and knots.

Stress can cause cramps. And while they may not be serious, they can make you feel unwell.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Being under stress can increase IBS-related symptoms like stomach pain. 

Overeating.

Stress increases the production of certain hormones, which can make you overeat and cause indigestion.

Drinking and smoking.

Cigarettes and alcohol can harm your gut. These habits can also increase stress!

  •  Why does it affect me?

Stress: the common enemy of your body and mind

Did you know your brain is connected to your gut? They pass signals to one another so when one of them isn't OK, the other isn’t either.1 Stress can become so intense that it creates a vicious emotional and physical cycle, which can cause intense stomach ache. To feel better, you need to break the cycle between stress and stomach pain.

  •  Top tips for managing stress

Try these positive lifestyle changes to help manage your stress and stomach pain or discomfort. If you can, build them into your daily routine to feel better overall as well as helping relieve your symptoms.

Exercise.

Going for a run or riding a bike will help distract you and make you feel good.

Improve your gut flora.

Having the right intestinal flora will help you manage stress. Include fruit, vegetables and fibre in your diet.

Meditate for better sleep.

Meditating before going to bed will help you relax and avoid sleepless nights.

Live in the moment.

Laugh out loud, watch a film with your partner, or take your pet for a walk. Enjoy every moment. 

Connect with loved ones.

Getting together or talking with your family and friends will help feel supported.

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Stress and stomach pain – your questions answered

    If you have IBS, pain can be caused due to the alteration of your stomach’s nervous system during stressful moments. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and healthy foods, can help control this pain.

    The brain and the gut are linked by the brain-gut axis. This connection means that one area impacts the other. So, for example, being stressed can make you feel a knot in your gut, while a knot in your gut can make you stressed.

    Stress can happen for different reasons and can impact each person differently. It can occur due to work situations, conflicts with a partner, the death of a loved one, everyday life problems, or even physical discomfort.

    Buscopan® IBS Relief can help relieve your IBS cramps. It relaxes the smooth muscles and relieves pain right where it occurs.

    Unlike analgesics, Buscopan® IBS Relief acts directly on the smooth muscles of your gut, where the pain originates from.

    Stressful situations can affect mobility in the intestine and impact the sensitivity of your gut, making it more prone to feeling pain.

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Learn more about IBS and abdominal discomfort

    1. Leapfrog research and planning 2012