Why stress makes you feel like you were punched in the gut

Ever since my 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, I’ve often (sometimes almost all day long and for days at a time) felt like I’ve been actually punched in the gut. It doesn’t feel like a nervous stomach. It actually feels like I almost can’t breath because I’ve gotten the wind knocked out of me.

I recently read a post of a friend struggling with the loss of a close friend. She described the exact same feeling, so it got me thinking. I know all about the stress reaction on our body … but why the stomach specifically? I mean, why doesn’t significant stress just as frequently cause arms or feet to ache? (It does BTW, but not as commonly!)

Intrigued, I started researching this. It took a while, but I finally found what I believe to be the reason. It explains more fully in the attached article, but here is the primary reason, according to an article from “Eating Well”:
“The brain and the digestive tract share many of the same nerve connections,” says Douglas A. Drossman, M.D., a gastroenterologist and psychiatrist and co-director of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders in Chapel Hill. It’s because, in the womb, the nerves that eventually separate into the brain, spinal cord and nerves of the intestine all have the same beginnings and remain interconnected.

Fascinating, eh? The article also gives some suggestions. I am going to try to eat quality, old fashioned oatmeal mixed with healthy fruits and nuts daily – along with a fish oil supplement. I also eat high quality yogurt daily, and it looks like this is probably helping so I’ll keep this up! Share any comments/ideas you have, and … carry on! 🙂

Link to article with more information” target=”_blank”>”Eating Well” article with more information

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