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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Why does chronic stress make me sick to my stomach?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26789points) May 17th, 2011

Why does being stressed out for long stretches of time wreak havoc on my stomach?

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20 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

For what it’s worth it does the same to my stomach. I don’t know why. Same old causes of stress?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yep, SSDD.
I’m falling apart. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I had the stomach flu.

JilltheTooth's avatar

My doctor once told me (a long time ago) that it was due to increased stomach acid. Don’t know if that’s true, but it would explain the distress, especially if you’re not digesting properly.

Scooby's avatar

IBS, my friend gets it bad :-/ she’s a worrier…..

tinyfaery's avatar

When I went on an SSRI my horrible stomach problems went away. You also have serotonin in your stomach and stress could be sending your serotonin out of whack.

mazingerz88's avatar

When you worry, you tend not to eat in proper intervals. Acid is released and that is never good without food to digest at that moment. Try to make sure you have something to digest even if you are stressed. No need punishing the body at the same time your mind is in a state of possible calamity.

picante's avatar

Chronic stress will affect every part of your physical being, and different people have different reactions. I suffer from IBS, and the symptoms are definitely much worse when I’m under severe and/or prolonged stress. I’m sure mine is a combination of excess acid, eating too rapidly (not properly digesting) and poorer choices in diet.

ANef, you can certainly seek medical intervention, and you should. But nothing will ease these symptoms or the many others that are likely to manifest over time if your stress levels remain high and unwavering. I hope you find a peaceful place soon.

gailcalled's avatar

I have had chronic lower back problems due to stress; it hits my weakest parts.

My first husband had IBS and my second had migraines for the same reason. It simply manifested itself in different parts of the body.

Whenever I get the smallest twinge now, I sit quietly and think about what issues are making me angry and which solutions will remove the stress from the lower back soft tissues.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Did you know you have a ‘second brain’ in your gut? So, it’s no surprise that some people get digestive issues during times of stress, because this ‘second brain’ is also susceptible and sensitive to various hormones.

I have anxiety, IBS, etc.. I was told that I am a ‘stomach responder’, which means I lose my appetite or get diarrhea or have other digestive upsets as a response to anxiety and stress. These are the times in my life where I lose 20–30 pounds without even realizing it, simply because my body is freaking and I have no appetite.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@MissAnthrope – I was just going to say, “because that’s your second brain reacting.” Totally concur.

ninahenry's avatar

You can feel a lot of emotion in your stomach. It’s nothing to worry about though, maybe invest in some reflexology treatments.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@MissAnthrope I did know that, and I am definitely the same way. I just wondered if there was an actual reason for it. Perhaps a specific hormone or physiological reaction that causes the sickness.

Thanks all. :)

Coloma's avatar

Stress has a profound effect on the body, worse than almost anything else short of maybe being a raging alcoholic or drug addict.

The mind/body connection is HUGE, and, most illness is brought on by long term stress.

My stress manifests in upper back and neck pain, from tense posture. I never get headaches or stomach issues. It’s different for everybody.

My daughter has always had the stomach stress which was how her aunts on her dads side of the family manifested their stress.

Prolonged stress is very damaging. Studies have shown a very high correlation between extreme stressors such as deaths, divorce, job loss, etc. and how many, many people come down with cancers and other life threatening stress related conditions within a 2 yr. period between the triggering event and the bodies reactions.

I believe 10,000% that doing everything you can to keep stress levels in check is the BEST thing you can do for your health.

Infact, I read somewhere a few years ago that the surgeon general I believe had stated that stress even surpassed smoking as one of the biggest killers.

I guess a stressed out smoker might be the worst rocket to launch. haha

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Great. I smoke like a chimney.

I’m actually convinced that long term stress has already shaved years off of my life. Hard as I try, I have never been very talented at coping with stress in general. At the same time, I just seem to be one of those “lucky” people that always ends up in really stressful situations that can not be avoided, chronic extreme stress has been a very normal part of my life for the majority of my life. But, my experience growing up was unique compared to many, so I learned at a very young age to always be on edge.

Eh, at least there is no stress when you’re dead.

Coloma's avatar


But you’re young. Usually it takes 30 years or so for smoking to really do damage. Quit before you’re 40 and you’ll probably not have an issue. I smoked for quite a few years….so far so good!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’ve smoked for 16 years already, so that gives me 14 years to tackle it. I might be able to manage that. lol.
I think I need a vacation.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Or you need to quit smoking. Talk to me about Chantix, it’s a miracle drug. I’m at 6 months of having quit, woot woot!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf What @MissAnthrope said! Every cigarette causes damage.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yeah, that is a better answer. I’m not ready, yet, though… so it’s relatively pointless right this second. Ultimately, yes, but at this point in time I can’t imagine adding anything else to my plate. 6 months is awesome, congratulations.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Get all the other stuff you’re dealing with straight and then try. Luck lady.

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