A “nervous stomach” is a condition with symptoms (nausea, bloating) that mimic those of gastrointestinal conditions (such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or gastroenteritis), but is caused by emotion. As nerve endings in the stomach respond to stress hormones from the brain as part of the “fight-or-flight” response, the stomach receives a signal to slow down so that blood can be diverted to the heart, lungs, and muscles. The stress that triggers a feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach or even the urge to vomit may be caused by financial problems, an upcoming event, relationship problems, the death of a loved one, or moving. Sessions with a therapist can help a person with a nervous stomach better cope with stress.
Given how closely the gut and brain interact, it’s not hard to understand why you might feel nauseated or feel intestinal pain during times of stress. Studies show that patients who tried psychologically based approaches had greater improvement in their digestive symptoms compared with patients who received only conventional medical treatment. Plains Area Can help. We welcome people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Call one of our offices today or check out this website for our free on-line assessment.
P.S. While people often refer to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a nervous stomach, a person can have a nervous stomach without having IBS, the symptoms of which occur consistently for at least 3 months and often improve with dietary and lifestyle changes.