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How Specifically Does Anxiety Affect Stomach?

Hi, I'm struggling through some fairly severe ongoing stomach issues that are initially triggered by a fairly specific, intense anxious event. Initially, I awaken with heart racing and/or a 'flushing' feeling around my heart, then it goes straight to my stomach where it immediately feels like a burning sensation, then severe pain and nausea.

Unfortunately, even after the anxious event/thoughts are removed, the stomach issues continue on for some time. This latest episode has lasted over 2 months. The last episode I had was in 2002 and lasted over 6 months.

When I'm not going through an 'episode', typical anxieties/fears may creep up on me, but none cause any sort of ongoing physical symptoms as these do. I don't suffer from panic attacks or most of the symptoms of general anxiety disorder.

- So to help me diagnose what is happening with my stomach, I'm curious to know exactly what is happening to the stomach during an extreme episode of anxiety?

- Some process is causing my stomach to become severely inflamed. Is there a scientific explanation?

- Anyone have severe, ongoing stomach issues resulting from an initial bout with anxiety?

Thanks. I understand a bit about adrenalin and how it affects the heart in this situation, but topics about stomach always seem more vague.
47 Responses
Avatar universal
my stomach is effected by my anxiety.  I get anxiety induced nausea.  I just know there are a ton of receptors in the stomach and it's not uncommon for people like us to have stomach issues.  I get the burning and nausea all the time.  
It's becoming old and I've had it now for over 2 years.  When it gets real bad,  I take a compazine to block that dopamine receptor - and the nausea goes away and I have two good days in a row.
I don't know what to tell you since I have the same problem.  Just that you're not alone.
Avatar universal
I have had ongoing stomach issues since all my anxiety started. I don't eat and have lost alot of weight. All this causes more anxiety. I have had an upper GI normal, a ultrasound of my gallbladder and liver all normal. I now am waiting to have the camera swallowing test on the 18 th of this month. I am so tired of all this, I can never eat normal without upseting my stomach. When I do try to eat then I feel too full. It just seems that when the anxiety flares then the appitite goes. So you are not alone. Sometimes I feel like I just constantly have the flu.
358304 tn?1409713092
Hey Kenny. My anxiety seems to set in my stomach. I get a NERVOUS stomach, bad butterflies, the feeling of fear, for no reason... and it def. has it's side effects... no appetite... which leads to bloating... and upset nauseated stomach...

If you have no appetite for days... just keep hydrated, eat as much protein as you can... things that are easy to go down even if they don't sound good, your body needs nutrients... and when you are having anxiety, your body burns nutrients fast!

Drink those ensure protein drinks too! And fruit always seems to go down good... and p & j sandwiches for me. =)

Good luck.

Have you talked to your Dr. about your symptoms?
Avatar universal
Thanks for the replies. So still trying to understand technically what's happening, but this is a good start.

- So does anyone have ongoing stomach issues even after the anxiety (thoughts/feelings) is gone?

My current episode has been going on for over 2 months now, with not much progress. And while I know that in this state I am hyper-sensitive to anxious feelings that otherwise would be no big deal, I also know that there are definitely stretches where I'm definitely not experiencing anxiety during these episodes.

And for the one taking compazine, can that be short-term just to allow your stomach to 'heal', or return to normal?

Thanks again!
Avatar universal
I also suffer from ongoing nausea which started 20 months ago after a panic attack at work, i have been since been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
I feel nauseous every day even when i don't feel anxious, i have had many tests all of which have come back as normal except for Testosterone which was low.
One of the tests i had done was a 24 hr urine collection to see how much Adrenaline i was producing but this also came back as normal.
Have you ever been on anxiety meds? it is quite normal for a Psychiatrist to put you on a 1 or 2 week trial of valium to see if this alleviates your symptoms.  
Avatar universal
And for the one taking compazine, can that be short-term just to allow your stomach to 'heal', or return to normal?

      IT can be short term or long term.  I've been taking it off and on for just over 2 years.  I don't go anywhere without it.  Vacations etc....  What it does is block the dopamine receptor which tells your brain that your stomach is not nauseous.
There's another drug called, phenegren which  is supposed to do the same thing but if you research the two drugs,  compazine has been proven to work much better for nausea.
My stomach pretty much always gets or feels better when anxiety symptoms are gone.  I would say if compazine doesn't help  your stomach,  I'd see a doc to see if there is something physically going on because your stomach should subside and feel better once the anxiety is gone or the dopamine receptor is blocked.
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