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Topic: Digestive Issues caused by anxiety???

16 posts, 0 answered
  1. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    3 December 2019

    Hello Everyone.

    I am having major digestive issues that my GP says are caused by stress and anxiety.

    After the birth of my first child over 21 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS. I have spent over 20 years being aware of what I eat and know my triggers. I have always had a 'podgy' lower tummy but have never experienced the bloating and distended tummy I now have. I seriously look pregnant. My tummy distends from my sternum, (right under breasts) and is tight and painful.

    Over the last 3 months or so it has become worse so I went back to my GP and was brushed aside by him saying its anxiety related. I expressed my fear of something serious wrong with me so he refered me to a surgeon for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Also ultra sound on kidneys and liver as I have pain in my left kidney.

    The specialist told me not to be too hopeful for answers which has left me feeling deflated. I'm having the procedures done a week before Xmas.

    Does anyone else suffer from this?? When I eat my tummy tightens and becomes painful. I have never been 'regular ' with going to toilet. Part of me feels like there is a blockage in my bowel.

    I am fed up with feeling fat and bloated and rarely leave my house.

  2. highhopes
    highhopes avatar
    22 posts
    3 December 2019 in reply to Purple4
    Hi and thank you very much for speaking out. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling uncomfortable.
    I have Severe Anxiety and suffer from OCD. My triggers are almost everywhere (Anxiety, Cleanliness OCD and PTSD which bounce off each other). When I was on medication I felt so much better and my stomach felt so much more comfortable. I think I was so tense with anxiety that I was actually squeezing my stomach muscles.
    I was sure mine was related to Anxiety. Would you mind if I could ask if there might be anything that may be make you anxious or may be a stress triggering event (or thought).
  3. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    3 December 2019 in reply to highhopes

    Thanks for you reply

    Nothing major has changed to justify how I feel. I have certainly delt with more stress and anxiety at other stages in my life.

    If there is no medical diagnosis I guess it could be due to being tense all the time. My body doesn't know how to relax and I guess I'm always on guard.

  4. highhopes
    highhopes avatar
    22 posts
    3 December 2019 in reply to Purple4

    You are most welcome. I can relate to not knowing how to relax and feel like you are always on guard. Its never a comfortable feeling so I can definitely relate.

    In my case, how every situation/action is acted out in life is self-judged (i'm my worst enemy sometimes) and felt confidence isn't my strongest point. For this reason I over analyse things and as a result sometimes I miss the bigger picture. What I mean by this is that I feel like I want to make every moment perfect and end up only seeing a very narrow "perfect" perspective. As a result I may find myself unintentionally making life a bit harder for my partner.

    Could I ask if there was a feeling of being tense all the time? Do you find your mind always active / find it difficult to relax?

  5. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    3 December 2019 in reply to highhopes

    I struggle to relax. My mind doesn't switch off. I over think everything, run different scenarios through my mind. It becomes so overwhelming that I shut down and keep to myself. I don't sleep well and have a history of insomnia. My GP has prescribed meds to help me sleep when required. I feel I always need to be doing something to keep bad thoughts away.

    The only time I don't feel tense would be when I'm alone doing something I enjoy.

    I also am my own worse enemy.

    When reading your last post it reminded me of self sabotaging. Do you feel this is what you do?

  6. highhopes
    highhopes avatar
    22 posts
    4 December 2019 in reply to Purple4

    Thank you again for sharing. Reading in your post, so much sounds very similar to me and could relate to it all.

    I can totally understand what it feels like when you mention not being able to switch off. I find its like that feeling when you are comfortable in bed and realise you have to go and switch off the lights in the other room.

    Feeling like running through different scenarios is extremely overwhelming. I do the same thing with pretty much everything in life. It can make you feel exhausted even if you wanted a full day of relaxing. The mind takes up a lot of our energy and can change our perspective of everything we do/feel.

    Great point regarding Self sabotaging. In my case I am not sure I deserve to be happy because I am not my 'perfect' self that I perceive I want to be. Doing everything 'perfect' and being 'perfect' to everyone around me. This over analyzing as you mentioned feels very cruel doesn't it.

    From what I can see from your post, personality wise I would think you ask very little from others but a lot from yourself.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    4 December 2019 in reply to highhopes

    You hit the nail on the head!!!

    Exactly right about not asking or expecting anything from others.

    What I am trying to learn is to put my needs first, or at least see them as important. I don't have any excuse not to now as I have raised my family and live alone.

    I just need to get my tummy issues sorted so I can think about leaving the house and going back to work.

  8. highhopes
    highhopes avatar
    22 posts
    4 December 2019 in reply to Purple4

    Thank you for your reply. It can be so very difficult to put your needs first. It seems much easier to help others than help ourselves.

    In the back of my mind I know that I will be often more effective if I can help myself first. The best example I think I could give would be -

    A car has broken down and it needs to go up hill, it looks straight forward enough. 1 person pushes while the other steers. It is very difficult for 1 person to push so the person steering decides to hop out and help.

    For some reason even with 2 pushing the car up the hill now its even harder than before with 1 person.

    They both evaluate the situation and find that the person steering kept leaving the handbrake up in fear it would roll back onto the person pushing it.

    Sometimes people don't always see the extra efforts you put in and why we do them, at the same time it might end up making every day components people may think are more straight forward much more difficult.

    We do things because they make us feel comfortable, and I think thats a very important thing. I think the overthinking component is because we want to avoid bad things to happen. That just means you put in 110% in everything you do.

    As you say though there is nothing wrong with giving 90% for everyone else and 10% for yourself (or vice versa sometimes :) )

  9. Niberg
    Niberg avatar
    2 posts
    6 December 2019 in reply to Purple4
    I’m currently suffering from similar problems. I thought it was due to being sick when I was over seas, I got better and then 2 days after being home got stomach pain, reflux and felt tense around my stomach area. I’ve had many tests done all coming back normal apart from being deficient in some things. I’m also having an endoscopy done a week before Christmas. Started taking anti-depressants which is slowly making my tummy pain go away. But still can’t wrap my head around my anxiety potentially causing such physical symptoms! Really panic somethings wrong like a parasite haha
  10. Courage2020
    Courage2020 avatar
    4 posts
    6 December 2019 in reply to Niberg
    I also have very similar issues.Pretty much to do with my Anxiety.But last 2 months I've been using this Medicine made by Blackmores "Digestive Aid".It helped me alot to manage digestive issue at this moment.You can bought it from local chemist.
  11. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    6 December 2019 in reply to Niberg

    Hi Niberg

    I found your post on stomach pain and posted my reply there


  12. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    6 December 2019 in reply to Courage2020

    Hello Courage

    Thankyou for your reply to my post.

    I am glad that digestive aid helps you. I'm not sure if I have tried that exact one but have tried many over the years. At the moment I am just taking a probotic daily that doesn't seem to be making any difference. I'm just plaing the waiting game until my procedures in a few weeks

  13. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10867 posts
    6 December 2019 in reply to Purple4

    Hi Purple4

    Great to have you on the forums!

    The digestive system is the most sympathetic to feelings of anxiety....from bloating to diarrhea. I have had these awful symptoms on and off for 37 years....ugh!

    A member called 'Annabay' wrote and excellent thread a few weeks ago asking about the physical symptoms of anxiety. I have provided the copy and paste link for you below :-)


    any questions are always welcome Purple4!

    my kind thoughts


    1 person found this helpful
  14. Eirenuu
    Eirenuu avatar
    7 posts
    7 December 2019 in reply to Purple4
    Hi Purple4,

    What you're going through sounds really stressful. Not knowing what is going on with your body can be really hard to deal with.

    I have digestive issues and didn't know why for a long time. My anxious brain of course jumped to the worst possible causes, and it still does sometimes.

    Now we've realised it's likely because of a connective tissue disorder. I get all the bloating and irregular bowel movements, and weirdly I can't burp.

    I hope that the tests give you some information and know that there are people here thinking of you.
  15. Purple4
    Purple4 avatar
    67 posts
    17 December 2019

    I am hoping to get some answers tomorrow when I have my surgery, Doing the bowel prep is terrible. Just one more drink at 5am to endure then I'm ready. It's been a long 3 days prep and I am so worried when I wake up the doctor will tell me that every thing was normal. I know that sounds strange, but there has to be a reason for my pain and serious bloating.

    I will update when I can

  16. Dan_1000
    Dan_1000 avatar
    9 posts
    10 January 2020

    Hi Purple4

    Bowel prep is horrible!! I totally know how you feel, fearing waking up and finding there's nothing wrong. You just want to know what the problem is so you can mentally adjust or fix the darned issue!!

    I went through a colonoscopy for similar reasons, and it did turn out that there was nothing abnormal. I have ongoing digestive issues and have tried things like the FODMAP diet, but with little success.

    Working with my psychologist I have been working through the mental walls i have built up around my gastro issues - fears of not making it to the bathroom, planning routes, worrying people would notice if i went to the bathroom, etc. Slowly but surely I am chipping down these walls. I am trying to learn that my gut hypersensitivity is not going away but to re-interpret the sensations and not go into panic mode. All whilst doing all the usual anxiety stuff - exercise, eating right, limiting coffee, yada yada.


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