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Incontinence Advice

Stress Indigestion Symptoms: How To Ease Anxiety and Bloating

There is strong medical evidence that stress indigestion symptoms are strongly linked with anxiety and bloating, overall linking to the aspect of brain gut connection…

Stress can impact our bodies in many ways, including physically, emotionally, and mentally, and can provoke gut problems including indigestion and bloating. But is there a way of lessening these effects by bringing changes into our lifestyle? In this article, you will learn about the intricacies of brain gut connection, why anxiety and stress can lead to bloating, diarrhoea, and an upset stomach, and simple changes can lead to better health and prevent stress indigestion symptoms.

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The Serotonin Connection: Happiness and Digestion

Our gut - the 'second brain' - is highly responsive to our emotional wellbeing, with serotonin playing a pivotal role. This neurotransmitter, essential for mood regulation, also influences gut function. When Serotonin levels are balanced, digestion is smooth, aiding emotional well-being and gastrointestinal health. Adequate Serotonin not only wards off depression but ensures our digestive system operates properly.

How Stress and Anger Impacts Gut Health

Stress and anger can trigger numerous stomach anxiety symptoms and stress indigestion symptoms. The physical discomfort combined with psychological distress can drastically affect your digestive system. Chronic stress has been linked to a host of gut disorders, from peptic ulcers to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). This connection highlights the importance of managing stress to prevent conditions like stress-related bloating and diarrhoea.

Symptoms of Stress

There is no one answer in terms of stress, since it can affect your body physically, behaviorally, and emotionally:

Physical Stress:

  • Gaining or losing weight 

  • Persistent headaches
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • A constant state of unease

  • Altered sleep habits

Behavioural Stress:

  • Varied appetite or changes in alcohol intake

  • A desire to be alone

  • Obsessive thoughts or conversations about stressors

  • Escalation of harmful habits, like smoking

  • Challenges with focusing or staying attentive

Emotional Stress:

  • Crying frequently

  • Depression (Feelings of sadness or hopelessness)

  • Short tempered (Quick to anger or irritation)

  • Nervousness

  • Memory Loss

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How Chronic Stress Causes An Upset Stomach

Chronic stress doesn't just affect your nerves—it can impact your digestive system. This relentless pressure can aggravate existing gastrointestinal problems, like IBS, and even intensify symptoms of inflammatory conditions without being the direct cause. 


These are the three main factors of stress indigestion symptoms:


1. Heartburn 

Heartburn (an uncomfortable burning sensation behind your breastbone) is often stress related. Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of your digestive system, causing stomach acid to back up into the oesophagus and ignite a fiery discomfort. 


2. Indigestion

Stress indigestion symptoms like bloating, nausea, and a churning stomach are common signs of anxiety affecting your digestive system. Stressful eating habits, such as hurried meals or high-fat food choices, increase these issues, leading to persistent digestive discomfort. 


3. IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is closely tied to stress, and many will experience flare-ups during periods of high anxiety. Symptoms like cramping, gas, alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation can significantly affect quality of life. Learn how long irritable bowel syndrome lasts for further details.

Lifestyle Changes For A Healthier Stomach

Improving gut health and alleviating stomach anxiety symptoms can be achieved with lifestyle adjustments:

Managing Stress

Stress and bloating, along with other digestive discomforts, often go hand in hand. Managing stress is crucial for maintaining a balanced digestive system. Techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and regular exercise can significantly lower stress levels, reducing instances of stress-related bloating and upset stomach. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can also diminish the occurrence of stress-induced digestive issues like diarrhoea or constipation.

Dietary Changes 

Eating habits play a pivotal role in managing stomach anxiety symptoms and stress indigestion. Here are a few guidelines to support digestive health:

  • Eat Mindfully: Slow down your eating pace and chew thoroughly to aid digestion and prevent indigestion.

  • Portion Control: Opt for smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overburdening the digestive system, which can help prevent stress and an upset stomach

  • Hydration: Regular water intake is essential for digestive health, easing the process of digestion and reducing bloating.

  • Avoid Late-Night Eating: Finish meals a few hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest, reducing the risk of heartburn and acid reflux.

Lifestyle Choices

  • Smoking and Alcohol: Steering clear of smoking and moderating alcohol consumption can prevent many digestive issues, including acid reflux and stomach ulcers.

  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate pressure on the stomach.

  • Relaxation and Support: Finding personal relaxation techniques and seeking support when needed can help manage stress, ultimately benefiting gut health.

  • Exercise: It is argued that any form of exercise aids in decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety, especially with cardiovascular exercises decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. Be sure to confirm this from your doctor beforehand.

Knowing about acid reflux and anxiety should also be recognised following these lifestyle choices too.


Bloating is more than just the overwhelming sensation of feeling ‘full’ after a meal; it's a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety, affecting the gut's delicate ecosystem. While not exclusively an anxiety symptom, bloating frequently accompanies it.

Bloating involves swelling or a sense of undue fullness in the stomach or chest, often leading to discomfort and symptoms like burping, flatulence, and abdominal pain. This sensation can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, creating a loop where anxiety leads to bloating, which in turn fuels more anxiety.

Anxiety and Bloating: What Are The Causes?

Hyperventilation, or the act of breathing too quickly and deeply, often during anxiety attacks, can introduce excess air into the digestive tract, leading to stomach distension and bloating. Even without full-blown hyperventilation, those that feel particularly anxious may breathe irregularly or swallow more air, further contributing to bloating.

Additionally, anxiety can disrupt the normal digestive process. The stress response can alter the balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, affecting how food is processed and leading to gas buildup and bloating. 

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How To Reduce Bloating

There are simple remedies and techniques that can enable you to reduce bloating and, therefore, reduce anxiety and bloating:

  • Expelling Trapped Air: Attempt belching or releasing flatulence to remove air. Holding in air can increase pain and anxiety. 

  • Indigestion-Related Gas: Can be odoriferous, whereupon you may require a private space like a bathroom.

  • Over-the-Counter Remedies: Medications like Pepto-Bismol can alleviate bloating symptoms. Relief is often temporary and may not help with bloating from air swallowing.

  • Managing Hyperventilation: Be aware if bloating is due to hyperventilation to avoid exacerbating it. Counteract hyperventilation by consciously slowing down breathing. Avoid excessive yawning or rapid breathing to minimise air intake.

Seeking Medical Advice

Typically, occasional indigestion is not a cause for concern. However, it's important to consult with your doctor if the discomfort persists for over two weeks.

Immediate consultation with your healthcare provider is advised if you experience severe pain or if it's associated with:

  • Sudden weight loss or decreased appetite.

  • Consistent vomiting or vomiting that includes blood.

  • Stools that are black and tar-like in appearance.

  • Increasing difficulty swallowing.

  • Symptoms of fatigue or weakness, which could indicate anaemia.

If you encounter any of the following symptoms, it's important to seek urgent medical care:

  • Experiencing shortness of breath, sweating, or chest pain that spreads to the jaw, neck, or arm.

  • Chest pain that occurs during physical activity or periods of stress.

Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Bloating In Your Body For Peace of Mind

In conclusion, the connection between our mental state and digestive health cannot be overstated. Stress and anxiety can manifest physically as stomach anxiety symptoms, bloating, and other digestive issues. Managing emotional well-being is crucial for maintaining gut health. By adopting healthy lifestyle changes, seeking medical advice when necessary, and understanding the gut-brain connection, you can quickly improve your digestive and overall health, especially for those over 50.

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What Is The Mind Gut Connection?

The mind-gut connection refers to the bidirectional communication between the central nervous system (brain) and the enteric nervous system (gut), where emotional and cognitive centres in the brain can influence stomach functioning and vice versa.

How Does Stress Impact The Gut?

Stress can negatively affect the gut by altering digestive processes, leading to symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, and changes in bowel habits, and can exacerbate conditions like IBS and GERD.

How Does Stress Impact Your Body?

Stress impacts the body by triggering the release of stress hormones like cortisol, leading to physiological changes that can affect various systems, causing issues like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened immune response, and digestive problems.

What Can You Eat To Look After Your Gut?

To support gut health, consume a diet rich in fibre, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; fermented foods like yoghourt, kefir, and sauerkraut for probiotics; and foods high in prebiotics, such as garlic, onions, and bananas, to nourish beneficial gut bacteria.