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Indigestion Problems With Anxiety

Faiq Shaikh, M.D.
Indigestion Problems With Anxiety

Anxiety causes a significant amount of physical stress, and physical stress can have a profound effect on your body. You may not realize how often your anxiety affects you in ways that are otherwise not linked to anxiety, but you have probably realized that when you have anxiety, it's not uncommon to have serious digestion issues.

Indigestion is an irritating and sometimes painful anxiety symptom. It's one that researchers struggle to understand, but many have ideas for why anxiety leads to such problems with digestion.

Causes of Anxiety Indigestion

While only a doctor can diagnose the cause of your indigestion, there is no denying that anxiety has an effect on the stomach. The question is what causes that effect. This has been studied since the early 1900's, and yet there is very limited data as to what causes some of these digestion issues. Some theorize that indigestion is caused by:

Strategies to Reduce Indigestion From Anxiety

Fighting indigestion is difficult, because your body is controlling the way that you are processing foods. Your anxiety can be reduced, but as long as you experience anxiety you're going to find that your indigestion continues.

The best place to start is by simply changing your diet to be healthier. This is important for your anxiety anyway, and a good tool for making sure that you're combatting your indigestion the best way you can. Make sure that you have ruled out any food-related causes by switching to a diet that is good for digestion - one with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

You can also make sure that you're not sitting too much immediately after dinner. How you sit or lay down can affect digestion. Since those with anxiety are more prone to laying down and doing nothing (because stress drains their energy) it may be in your best interests to address that issue by walking around after eating or making sure to stand and let the food settle.

The Only True Cure

Of course, the most important factor is going to be how you deal with your anxiety. Only by curing your anxiety can you expect to stop the indigestion caused by these issues.

Article Resources
  1. Miller, Raymond J., Olaf Bergeim, and Philip B. Hawk. The influence of anxiety on gastric digestion. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (New York, NY). Vol. 17. No. 5. Royal Society of Medicine, 1920.
  2. Means-Christensen, Adrienne J., et al. Relationships among pain, anxiety, and depression in primary care. Depression and anxiety 25.7 (2008): 593-600.
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