Abdominal Pains and Stress
Answered by: Christine Dennis
Question from: Sara
Posted on: May 20, 2009

I’ve been having pain all around my lower stomach but mainly on the right side, for the past month and a half. I’ve taken lots of test and the doctors don’t see any medical problem so they think its mainly from stress. I started learning how to deal with stress but meanwhile what herbs can I take to ease the pain?

Stress is one of those things that is so under appreciated in terms of the extent in which it can infiltrate the body and in the number of ways it does as well. Generally speaking though, stress is bad news for the digestive system. The reason for this is because when the body experiences on going stress, the body, in a effort to conserve energy and resources, goes through a process whereby all "non essential" functions get turned off. Odd as it may seem that digestion is classified as "non essential", one must understand that our stress responses are not meant to be for long periods rather short term fight, flight or freeze incidents.

When stress has been on going the digestive system become more and more irritated as food keeps going in but the digestion is not turned on to deal with the food. Irritation in the digestive track can present in a whole array for signs and symptoms depending on the individual and many other factors. Therefore a treatment plan must be individualized for best results. However, there are three main things to consider to help you with your pain: 1/ reduce stress response in your body - herbs such as valerian root, chamomile, catnip, lavender or lemon balm can help to calm the nerves as well as relax tension in the digestive system. 2/ turn digestive system back on - bitter herbs such as dandelion root, yellow dock root or gentian root can be taken 10 to 30 minutes before meals as bitters tell the body that food is on the way so that it may get prepared and get "turned on". 3/ stress can bring on food sensitivities as the body becomes sensitive to what it see way too often whilst it is irritated. An elimination diet can help to determine what foods might be causing additional irritation to your digestive system.

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