Stress and Digestive Disorders: Is there a Relation?

When you are under stress or nervous you feel “butterflies in your stomach”, don’t you??? Well, the scientists have proven that there is a strong relation between the brain and the digestive system. Our digestive system is highly sensitive to our mood changes. In fact 95% of the serotonin, a hormone that controls our moods, is found in our digestive system. Now you see why

there is a strong relation between the stress and digestive disorders.

How are stress and digestive disorders related?

  • The most common manifestation of stress is to attack the digestive system and cause digestive disorders. This affects the esophagus, stomach, colon, bowel, liver etc.
  • Besides this, when we are under stress we tend to just gulp down the food. Or worse, we might start skipping the meals or resort to erratic eating patterns. This too leads to digestive diseases and disorders.
  • Stress forces us to have innumerable cups of coffee. Excessive caffeine intake can cause unpleasant conditions in the stomach.
  • Not only caffeine, stress instigates us to smoke more. Nicotine too is harmful for the digestive system.

Therefore, stress might not affect the digestive system directly, however, it surely creates conditions which leads to digestive disorders.

Stress and Digestive disorders

Following is a list of digestive disorders that can be aggravated by stress:


A report by the Cleveland Clinic states that the symptoms of indigestion get worse due to stress. Likewise, the signs subside when the person is relaxed.


In a study, carried out by Psychosomatic Medicine in 2004, found that people who have undergone a life-changing incident are likely to develop heartburn within four months. Researchers feel that stress might heighten the production of the acid by the stomach or make esophagus extremely sensitive.


Although the connection between stress and ulcers is hypothetical, many believe that stress is a major factor in 60% of the ulcers.


Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis are not caused by stress. However, symptoms can get worse due to stress.


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