Stress Series: 3 – Stomach pain and diet

The remaining articles in this series are more specific to the symptoms and how to manage with practical tips and advise.

Stress-3-Stomach-pain-1-wrI have preciously eluded to the effect of stress on the gastrointestinal system such as pain and bloating which is a common symptom in people who are stressed.

This is because the blood supply to your stomach is reduced and so digestion is harder for your body to achieve.

In addition, the stress-related stomach pain occurs as the acid in your stomach is increased and this damages the lining of your stomach.

Foods that are normally well tolerated can then cause indigestion, bloating, cramping, pain and change in bowel habits.

A condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been proven to be stress-related.

The importance of good nutrition

Good nutrition is important for people who are stressed. Here are my tips for controlling your symptoms with diet.


Refined sugars and processed foods cause a peak in your sugar with a subsequent sugar crash. This will leave you feeling irritable and tired.

Nuts and bananas, for example, will not leave you with this sugar crash.


Caffeine can play havoc on your digestive system. It also acts as a stimulant which will worsen stress, particularly in men (see Joanna’s Journal for How caffeine effects men and women differently).

Try a herbal tea after your meals instead of a caffeinated drink; ginger tea is particularly comforting in most cases.


Recent studies show that stress seems to be associated with an alteration in the bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics can therefore alleviate some stomach pains and nausea.



Drinking water can help regulate the amount of acid in your stomach – so ensure to keep well hydrated.


Don’t forget – not all stomach pain is caused by stress. If stomach problems are persistent or severe, seek expert medical help from your GP.