Cramps, grumbling, bloating – most of us struggle with a stomach ache. However, serious illnesses are not always behind the symptoms. We reveal where your stomach pain can come from and how you can reliably relieve it.
Sayings like “this gives me a stomach ache ” or “I have a bad gut feeling” are no coincidence because our stomach is closely connected to our psyche. In the event of stress, grief or nervousness, our digestive tract reports. The result: nausea, abdominal cramps or diarrhoea.
If your stomach can’t get any rest either, then you’ve come to the right place. We will tell you the most common reasons for abdominal pain and how you can get them under control.
Stress Hits The Stomach & Intestines
Whether it’s the long-awaited first date, the job interview or the crucial meeting at work, events like these make us nervous. Our mouths are dry, we’re sweating, and then our stomachs are tellingly grumbling. It is not uncommon for us to rush to the toilet because our intestines are going haywire. In short: We are stressed!
But why does stress put our stomachs in a state of emergency? The reason is a miscommunication between our brain and our gut-brain. This means the nervous system that controls the gastrointestinal tract. One hundred million nerve cells ensure that the organs work optimally and that digestion functions smoothly. The abdominal brain, also known as the enteric nervous system or “little brain”, even works independently of the brain.
However, when we are stressed, the finely tuned system of our gastrointestinal tract becomes unbalanced. Because then our brain sends interference signals in the form of stress stimuli to the abdominal brain. In addition, stress hormones put our bodies into fight-or-flight mode. Instead of digesting correctly, the body now concentrates on other things, such as breathing or the muscles. Digestion is neglected. The result: stomach rumbling, cramps, flatulence and, in the worst case, even diarrhoea or vomiting.
What Helps Against The Stress Belly?
Air In The Abdomen And The Psychological Causes: To get stress-related abdominal pain under control, it is essential to combat the cause of the symptoms, i.e., stress. The first and most crucial step on the way there is to recognize what triggers your anxiety. Only then can you consciously take countermeasures and change something in your situation.
Are you looking for immediate measures to give you relief in stressful situations? Then try simple breathing exercises. Find a quiet place and breathe in and out slowly and deeply ten times. This alone will help calm your heartbeat and breathing rate. With this exercise, consciously push the stress-triggering thoughts aside and give your head a break.
To permanently reduce stress, you should incorporate these conscious relaxation breaks into your everyday life. Gentle endurance sports such as jogging, cycling or swimming are proven, stress killers. Yoga is also great for permanently reducing stress. This is how you fight the cause of your stress-related abdominal pain and keep fit at the same time.
Tip: Gentle home remedies such as fennel-anise-caraway or chamomile tea can help against the symptoms of a stressed stomach. These herbs have a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal tract.
Over-the-counter medicines from the pharmacy also use this medicinal plant power. They can provide relief for stress-related abdominal problems, among other things.
Even Grief Makes The Stomach Rebel
Stress in the form of workload or nervousness can lead to digestive problems and abdominal pain. Psychological stress such as grief or lovesickness also disturbs the balance in the gastrointestinal tract. Because here, too, the body releases more stress hormones. Heartbeat accelerates, breathing quickens. The body is in survival mode, so digestion is secondary. And again, the bloating can be traced back to psychological causes.
Also, many sorrowful ones can’t get a bite down. The stomach strikes. You have no appetite. Nevertheless, one should not give up eating entirely. A light, healthy diet rich in vitamins gives the body the energy it needs without straining the intestines.
The Excellent News: Sport and distraction can also help with mental stress. Get some fresh air, work out, meet friends! It gives you a clear head, and you no longer concentrate 100 percent on the negative thoughts. This is not only good for your soul but also your stomach.
Eating Too Fast Causes Stomach Ache
Suppose you often have to deal with a bloated stomach and cramps, but your doctor cannot find a physical cause. In that case, you should take a close look at your eating habits in addition to your stress level. The problem: When we have a lot to do, we often don’t take enough time to eat. We prefer to eat our meal on the side quickly. We hardly notice what we are shovelling into ourselves.
The result of overeating is a bloated stomach and digestive problems because: If we swallow our food without chewing it thoroughly, we consume a lot of air and unchewed pieces of food.
Chewing is essential here: It not only has the task of mechanically crushing the food but is also part of the (pre)digestion. If we don’t take enough time to eat, our bodies will thank us with a bloated stomach and cramps.
By giving yourself enough time for your meal (at least 20 minutes!) and by focusing on the food, you not only prevent stomach aches, but you also don’t overeat when you’re hungry. It can help if you decide not to eat while walking or in front of the computer frantically, but consciously take your time and eat your meal at the table.
Fatty Foods Put A Strain On Your Stomach
In addition to the right timing when eating, what is put on the plate also plays a significant role in avoiding stomach problems. Even in healthy people, without diseases, food intolerance or allergies, certain meals cause an “uneasy gut feeling” in the truest sense of the word. These include, above all, very greasy dishes such as the classic Christmas goose or curry sausage with fries.
Greasy food is challenging to digest, and the stomach, in particular, has to struggle with the rich meals. Unlike carbohydrates or proteins, fat takes longer to digest, and the food stays in the stomach longer. As a result, more stomach acid is produced, which attacks the stomach lining and can lead to irritation. We notice this in the form of stabbing stomach pains or a feeling of fullness.
Interestingly, many of us have cravings for greasy foods, especially during stressful times. But it would be best if you resisted the urge. Because in the end, you will feel worse afterwards than before. Instead of fast food, opt for healthy, fibre-rich dishes with lots of vegetables and vitamins.
However, it should be said here that even supposedly healthy food can cause stomach ache. For example, not everyone gets raw food, including onions, legumes and whole grains, i.e. foods high in fibre, in particular, can also cause a bloated stomach if consumed excessively.
Our tip: Be open-minded and try out different recipes to find out which “healthy food” is good for you, tastes good and makes you happy. Then your gut feeling will be right in the end!