What to Do About "Nervous Stomach"
Although having a "nervous stomach" isn't considered a specific diagnosis or a recognized disease, some doctors may use the term to describe a variety of symptoms that may be attributed to stress, tension and anxiety, including indigestion, bloating, gas or a change in bowel habits. In some cases, having a nervous stomach is used to describe symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon. If you have a "nervous stomach" and have chronic bouts of diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain, ask your doctor what the term means in your specific case and what diagnostic tests might be available to determine an exact cause of your problem and what you can do to alleviate the condition.
Because flare-ups of IBS are often triggered by stress, medication or food, there are some steps you can take to help reduce their severity and tame your nervous stomach. For example:
- Keep a journal of when you experience a nervous stomach attack and what you ate or drank before the attack. Also write down any feelings you were experiencing or activities you were involved in before your stomach started acting up so you can chart a pattern in your stomach attacks and avoid those triggers in the future.
- Eating more fiber-rich foods, including whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables, can help keep your bowel habits regular. However, they can also increase abdominal cramping and gas. Try gradually increasing your intake of high-fiber foods to determine which foods you can tolerate.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, eating meals at the same time of day will help you maintain regular bowel habits. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce bouts of diarrhea, while eating larger meals with increased amounts of fiber can help prevent constipation.
- Drinking plenty of water, at least three to four glasses a day, can help you maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Avoiding some common stomach irritants, such as caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, chocolate and colas, as well as reducing your intake of dairy products, including milk and cheese products, may also reduce symptoms.
- Practicing relaxation techniques when you're feeling stressed, may help calm a turbulent stomach. Try some deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to become calmer. Maintaining a regular exercise program of at least 30 minutes most days of the week can also help relieve stress.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.