ZocdocAnswersCan stress lead to pain in the body?

Question

Can stress lead to pain in the body?

I have unexplained pain in my stomach muscles and groin. I know I didn't injure them because I don't really exercise. Only thing I can think is I've been really stressed out at work. Can stress cause physical pain?

Answer

The relationship between stress and emotional state and physical symptoms is a complex one. Nevertheless, it is definitely the case that high levels of stress can cause physical symptoms; these commonly include symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain, and cramping. So, if these are the symptoms you are having, then this is a possibility. However, I always think it is important to rule out a medical problem before chalking things up to stress. This is especially the case if the symptoms are severe or have been persisting for more than a week or two. I would recommend that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor, who will be able to perform a physical exam and help you figure out what is going on. There are a whole host of potential causes of abdominal and groin or pelvic pain. In addition to indigestion, intestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation, which are common in both men and women, men often commonly have hernias which cause these types of symptoms. In women, thinking about the reproductive organs, such as the uterus and ovaries, is also important, as these can very commonly be the source of the pain. Start by talking to your primary care doctor!

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

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