Psychosomatics of Abdominal Pain: Causes and Treatment

Abdominal pain due to nervous tension is one of the most common psychosomatic reactions. The feeling of “knotting under the spoon” (upper abdomen discomfort) is familiar to many. For some, stomach indigestion occurs due to fear, while others suffer from spasms during intense excitement. And some constantly blame, belittle, and criticize themselves, leading to stomach ulcers. Psychosomatic reactions can be normal or dangerous, but let’s discuss them in order.

Psychosomatics of the Abdomen

The intestine symbolizes the elimination of the unnecessary, old, or excess. The stomach is responsible for processing and assimilating new information, ideas, and opinions. Accordingly, psychosomatic issues with the stomach indicate the following:

  • Diarrhea – the desire to quickly get rid of something;
  • Constipation – unwillingness to part with something;
  • Pain, spasms – rejection of something;
  • Ulcer – feelings of guilt, anger.

Let’s delve into the psychosomatics of abdominal pain and some disorders in more detail. Psychosomatics of the abdomen:

  • Constipation indicates an inability to escape a difficult life situation. It also suggests a person’s inability to accept help and to give their energy.
  • Diarrhea arises from anxious anticipation, a sense of helplessness. A person wants to discard something from their life. In women, diarrhea may occur during pregnancy if the woman does not accept the child.
  • Bloating reflects tightness, self-doubt, fears. A person constantly worries about the future and cannot relax.
  • Belly fat accumulates due to stress eating and satisfying the need for love through food. People often confuse emotional and physical hunger, leading to overeating and eventually fat deposits on the abdomen. Obesity reflects unmet needs for protection combined with suppressed aggression and resentment.

Important! A large belly can result from nerves. Before rushing to a dietitian or endocrinologist, consider when and with what feelings you eat. Perhaps you’re used to eating in company, as it’s the only chance to meet a friend, or you eat when bored and lonely.

Characteristics of Neurological Abdominal Pain

Fear and anxiety are the primary causes of neurological abdominal pain. The fear of being rejected, criticized for one’s opinions, or punished for actions can lead people to suppress their true selves and to ‘crawl on their bellies’ before others. In children, neurological abdominal pain often arises from family conflicts, peer disputes, school issues, or street confrontations, as well as from psycho-emotional overload.

Possible Causes of Pathological Conditions

Abdominal pain can stem from a person’s uncertainty, feelings of hopelessness and doom. Ulcers indicate that something is gnawing at the person from within. Other triggers of pathological abdominal conditions include:

  • Anger;
  • Hatred;
  • Inferiority complex;
  • Fears;
  • Inability to stand up for oneself;
  • Irritability;
  • Inability to openly express claims;
  • Suppressed aggression.

Causes of Nervous Abdominal Pains

Nervous abdominal pain arises against a backdrop of:

  • Emotional tension;
  • Anxiety;
  • Seeking help;
  • Fear;
  • Unmet needs;
  • Self-doubt;
  • Inability to accept or assimilate something. All these factors enhance gastric secretion, leading to muscle spasms and pain.

Interesting Fact! According to Liz Burbo, upper abdominal pain indicates excessive worry about others, while lower abdominal pain suggests worries about one’s own life.

Stress and Psychosomatics of Stomach and Intestines

Hans Selye, the author of the stress theory, experimentally established the connection between stress and the development of ulcers. Experiments on rats showed that those regularly subjected to stress suffered illnesses, particularly affecting their gastrointestinal tract. This was later confirmed in humans. Stomach and intestinal problems, IBS, ulcers, and gastritis are the body’s reaction to external irritants and the psyche’s reluctance to accept a situation.

During stress, the digestive system shuts down, and energy is redirected to muscles for defense or escape. Unlike animals, who can release aggression and forget an incident, humans may dwell on conflicts or suppress feelings, allowing tension to accumulate. Traumatic memories constantly haunt a person, turning their entire life into a stress factor.

Important! The development of disease depends on a person’s stress resilience and their methods of responding to specific stressors. For some, being late for work is stressful, while others can resiliently handle the death of a loved one.

Psychosomatics of Digestion – Abdominal Pains, Gastritis, and Ulcer from Stress

Why can some people eat any food, including exotic, without fear of stomach problems, while others constantly suffer from gastritis, poisonings, and even ulcers? Psychosomatics has long proven that it’s all about the psyche. All diseases are from nerves, and nerves are from thoughts.

For mental and physical health, individuals need rest and recovery after each stress. Constant stress and tension exhaust the body, lowering overall immunity and disrupting the function of individual organs and systems.

Interesting Fact! Family and friends play a significant role in overcoming stress. Pleasant interactions, support, and good relationships are key to preventing neuroses and disorders. However, in reality, family and relationships with friends often become another significant stress factor.

Nervous Gastritis

Long-term uncertainty can lead to gastritis. Other precursors to this disease include:

  • Fear of the future;
  • Suppressed anger;
  • Intense conflict stirring emotions;
  • Feeling that nothing good awaits in the future. Gastritis often worsens with symptoms like heartburn and reflux. Psychosomatically, this suggests an inability to accept something or someone, while trying to convince oneself that everything is fine.

Nervous Pancreatitis

Psychosomatics of pancreatic inflammation include:

  • Conflicts at work and home (literally seething with bile);
  • Overeating from joy or sorrow (food as a substitute for human interaction);
  • Anger;
  • Inability to accept reality;
  • Feeling of hopelessness;
  • Attempts to control everything;
  • Need for love and support from loved ones. Pain in the pancreas on a nervous basis also arises from depression, fatigue. At such times, people subconsciously crave sweet and spicy foods, which do elevate mood by releasing joy, happiness, and calm hormones. But this is temporary and harmful. It’s more beneficial to get these hormones from engaging in a favorite activity or sport. Watching comedies, spending fun time with friends, sunbathing, and massages also help.

Stress-Induced Stomach and Duodenal Ulcer

Ulcers develop in those who need support, help, while simultaneously unable to accept or cope with a situation, feeling guilty. If a person cannot find support among friends or energize from another source, like a hobby, they try to gain energy from food. Overeating increases gastric secretion, provoking ulcer development.

Other factors influencing the appearance and development of ulcers include:

  • Inferiority complex;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Contradictory need for independence and care from others;
  • Envy;
  • Perfectionism;
  • Dependence on others’ opinions;
  • Desire to appear better in others’ eyes, to prove one’s worth;
  • Anxiety and suspiciousness as character traits.

Important! If a person continues to ignore the physical manifestations of psychological problems, they risk developing cancer. Psychologically, oncology signifies unforgiven grievances and suppressed emotions. Physiologically, oncology is the next stage of ulcers.

If Lower Abdominal Pain Occurs

Lower abdominal pain indicates issues with the large intestine, often reflecting deep frustration and dissatisfaction with life. Frequently, it is combined with constipation, signifying fear of loss and a desire for control. It can also result from negative attitudes towards defecation or sexual contacts, perceived as indecent.

In women, lower abdominal pain can indicate problems with female organs. Psychosomatically, this suggests a woman not accepting herself or suffering in relationships with men.


First and foremost, it is necessary to consult a gastroenterologist. Psychosomatic diseases require a comprehensive approach: medication to restore the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) function and psychotherapy to address psychological traumas.

When to see a psychotherapist:

  • If treatment by a gastroenterologist is ineffective;
  • If ulcers, gastritis, and other diseases worsen under stress;
  • If you realize that the disease is related to stress, but don’t understand what exactly bothers you;
  • If you cannot get rid of harmful habits (smoking, alcohol);
  • If intestinal disorders are accompanied by sleep disturbances, appetite changes, fatigue;
  • If you have been in a depressed mood for a month or more.

Psychotherapy is used to treat psychosomatic disorders of the intestine and stomach. When choosing treatment, it’s important to consider an individual approach, taking into account the nature and localization of pain.

Psychotherapy for Psychosomatic Abdominal Pains

The essence of psychotherapy is to eliminate all stress factors from a patient’s life. Only in a state of rest will the GIT function normally. For this, a person needs to learn self-regulation, and to be taught coping strategies for dealing with difficult situations. Psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and hypnosis are used for this. It’s necessary to identify and resolve all of the client’s conflicts.

Practices for Healing Psychosomatics of the Stomach

To eliminate nervous abdominal pain, train yourself to analyze situations. Each time pain or spasm occurs, think about what you fear. Usually, a person fears that they will fail, that something will go wrong. They worry intensely, up to the point of panic. Ask yourself, what will happen if you do what you want, and what will happen if you don’t. Which consequence is more dangerous or harmful to you?

Additionally, it’s recommended to master breathing practices. It is beneficial to take warm baths and engage in sports. Physical activity not only reduces tension and stress levels but also improves GIT function and provides gentle massage to the organs.

Prevention of Abdominal Pain

For occasional pain attacks, you can use traditional methods:

  1. For heaviness and bloating, drink oregano infusion. Two tablespoons of herbs per one and a half cups of boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes. Take half a cup before meals.
  2. For women’s pain, chamomile decoction and a warm heating pad will help.
  3. For colic, a dandelion decoction is effective.

Monitor your work and rest routine, find a hobby, and socialize more with pleasant people. Love yourself and allow yourself to live in harmony with your desires. Don’t keep quiet about what dissatisfies you.

Important! If your stomach often hurts from nerves, you should visit both a gastroenterologist and a psychologist.

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