Do you REALLY think this is just in the mind?

(18 Posts)
AnxiousAngelina Mon 06-Dec-21 13:27:19

I've been having stomach issues for months. Gurgling, springing, wind, bouncing around, unable to digest food properly, bloating, so much noise in there. Sounds like a load of creaking doors and flatulence. No other symptoms no sickness or passing blood or diahorrea etc. No allergies or intolerances. I've had the odd day of being fine but it's mainly constant stomach issues after lunch and dinner. I'm developing a fear of being around people because of it and it's affecting my job. It's making me really, really depressed. I've trialled foods and probiotics. Nada. My doctor has said this is totally 100% down to stress. The past couple of years have been worse than I've had in a long time and I admit I am extremely unhappy in both my personal and work life. But would unhappiness, stress and low mood really cause all this? Is the doctor just fobbing me off?

OP’s posts: |
Negligee Mon 06-Dec-21 13:30:40

I can't speak to your specific stomach issues, but I thought I had a heart defect because of palpitations, 'skipped beats', racing heartbeat etc -- and I'm the reverse of a hypochondriac -- and it was down to stress I wasn't able to acknowledge to myself at the time.

LuckyAmy1986 Mon 06-Dec-21 13:41:54

It could be. Have you had a gastroscopy or any imaging tests?

NoSquirrels Mon 06-Dec-21 13:45:04

It definitely could be stress.

OTOH it might be something else, but if it is it sounds most likely to be an intolerance to a food you’ve developed.

When you say you’ve ‘trialled foods’ what do you mean exactly? Have you cut out all major irritants and done a proper one-by-one reintroduction of them? It’s boring and takes time so if you haven’t done it properly it might well be this.

NoSquirrels Mon 06-Dec-21 13:46:10

Have you kept a good & symptoms diary, that also notes your stress levels on each day?

FindingFlorestan Mon 06-Dec-21 13:46:33

It could be.
I heard an interesting talk with a US doctor Rachel Zoffness on this topic recently.

NoSquirrels Mon 06-Dec-21 13:46:36


Have you kept a good & symptoms diary, that also notes your stress levels on each day?

food diary, obviously!


rrhuth Mon 06-Dec-21 13:46:47

Stress can definitely cause this, yes. No one can diagnose you except your own doctor but it absolutely could be stress.

Palavah Mon 06-Dec-21 13:48:32

Have a read of 'Gut' by Giulia Enders, or watch her ted talk.

It's not 'all in the mind' because your symptoms are clearly very real, but it's entirely possible that your bowel symptoms are caused or exacerbated by stress. Have you got any techniques for reducing or handling stress?

MythicalBiologicalFennel Mon 06-Dec-21 13:53:42

I suffer from anxiety and get a lot of physical symptoms. Symptoms like yours could be caused by stress.

However nobody here can diagnose you. You can request a referral from your GP for tests to rule out any other causes - a diary of symptoms like suggested above will help you and your doctor. In the meantime you could try relaxation techniques /meditation / exercise / CBT to reduce your stress levels and see if that has an effect on your symptoms.

DraigFach Mon 06-Dec-21 13:56:56

Being related to stress does not mean it's "all in the mind" it just means a physical response to stress - my digestive system plays havoc when I'm stressed, it also has specific food triggers (probable IBS but not formally diagnosed)

Try doing a food & mood diary and track how you're feeling to see if there's any linkage to help you manage this.

AnxiousAngelina Mon 06-Dec-21 13:57:58

Yes I'm thinking of trying Yoga. I'm exercising and making sure I get outdoors. But mainly I'm going to really try and get another job early next year as I'm so very, very unhappy where I am and it's causing me so much negative emotion. I'm just worried that the stomach issue will always be there and block me from a new job, being around new people etc rather than just disappear if I'm happy at work again, which I'm what I'm hoping for. I've been putting off making the jump because of covid and because I'm a wimp who hates change. But I've had enough now.

OP’s posts: |
haba Mon 06-Dec-21 13:59:53

My DD has IBS, and it is very definitely exacerbated by anxiety and/or stress. Stress can have an enormous affect on us.

The other thing I'd say have a think about is threadworms (sorry!). If you have children in your household, it's always a possibility, and the symptoms are not always the well-known itchy bottom! V easy to get the tablets to get rid of them from a pharmacy.

picklemewalnuts Mon 06-Dec-21 14:00:47

It was for me.

It's settled hugely now I've managed my stress better.

For me it's triggered by stress, especially around meal times (eating out, eating in a rush, eating with someone I don't like), and also by a specific food. Now it's settled, I can manage that food, or stress, but not both!! No grapes on busy days!

It will get easier to manage if you work at it- mine only kicks in now if things are particularly bad. Everyday stress is fine.

MartyHart Mon 06-Dec-21 14:01:37

It's not "all in the mind" because you aren't imagining physical symptoms. But, physical symptoms can be caused by stress and worry.
My gut definitely reacts to it. I was in a bad earthquake around 20 years ago, it was so scary and my stomach was weird for weeks afterwards because of the stress and worry of the event and the aftermath (I don't live there anymore so don't need to worry about it now thankfully).
I agree with pp, keep a really detailed diary of symptoms and note your stress levels on each day. See if you can identify any patterns.
Consider how you can reduce your stress and see if it has any effect. I mean reducing stress is never bad for you so you might as well.

haba Mon 06-Dec-21 14:01:49

And @DraigFach is spot on- there are physical manifestations of stress, many of them.

Slobberstops Mon 06-Dec-21 14:04:23

Have you tried the Fodmap diet? That and stress control plus probiotics were amazing for dh.

picklemewalnuts Mon 06-Dec-21 14:14:17

Also bear in mind your gut contains as much neural tissue as your spinal cord. It's sometimes called the 'third brain'.

Having a 'Gut reaction' to a situation is very real.

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