Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can a breakup cause abdominal pain?"
After my breakup I got such bad cramps and diarrhea. Can the mind affect the body like that?
The quick answer to your question is yes, emotional distress can definitely cause the symptoms you were experiencing. The brain's emotional centers are directly connected to an arm of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (or ANS for short). The ANS is responsible for controlling many functions inside the body including heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. When we are upset, the ANS often gets disorganized and can do things its not supposed to do. For example, it is possible that your state of mind caused your GI track to become more active pushing out its contents too quickly causing the cramping and the diarrhea. I should note that the symptoms you experienced can also be due to an infection in your GI track. Contagious viruses can cause bad cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is possible that the symptoms you experienced were from an infection, and they just happened to coincide with your breakup. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your description of your symptoms and perform a physical exam. The two of you can also discuss your breakup and how your are dealing with it now. I hope you feel better.
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