ZocdocAnswersCan stress cause stomach problems?

Question

Can stress cause stomach problems?

I have these stomach problems that don't seem to have a cause and one thing my doctor said last time is that it could be from stress. Can your stress make your stomach hurt for real? I just keep thinking there has to be a physical problem with me.

Answer

Stress is a very common cause of multiple physical symptoms. These can include fatigue, palpitations, and stomach pains, among many others. However, stomach pain caused by stress should be a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other causes of the stomach pain should be thoroughly investigated first to make sure that you are not missing something. Therefore, I would recommend that you take the issue up again with your primary care doctor, who can help you finish the evaluation for medical causes of your stomach pain. Common causes of stomach pain include stomach ulcers or inflammation of the stomach (called gastritis). These two problems may be caused by a bacterial infection, or they could be associated with irritation to the stomach from certain medications (like ibuprofen), from smoking, or from alcohol. Multiple food sensitivities may also cause stomach pain, including lactose intolerance (pain, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation after eating dairy) and celiac disease (chronic abdominal pain associated with the ingestion of wheat gluten). Chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome are two other very common causes of stomach pain. As you can see, the list is long, so start by making an appointment with your primary care doctor at your earliest convenience.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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