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Chronic pain in the abdominal area can bring so much discomfort to everyday life. It doesn’t only bring you inconvenience, as it also ruins your mood.
According to Eva Szigethy, a psychiatric psychiatrist, medicine professor, and the founder of the Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, chronic pain in the abdomen can significantly affect the brain.
How Chronic Pain Affects the Brain’s Signal Responses
Chronic pain can change the brain’s responses to signals. To support this claim, Szigethy published an article in GI and Hepatology News to study the relation of abdominal pain to the brain.
The study highlighted that the pain is caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can be traumatizing.
Szigethy defines trauma as the body’s reaction when the person’s safety is at risk. It can be caused by threats outside the body, from another person or group of people.
Meanwhile, there are cases when trauma can appear when something is happening inside the body. The condition can be linked to the brain and guts.
Szigethy mentioned that signals are coming from the guts, but the brain can also send secondary alerts to prolong the negative feeling. Szigethy added that the abdomen’s pain could cause you to worry, feel anxious and be depressed.
Gut Hypersensitivity Triggers Negative Emotions
The never-ending pain can send signals to your brain to make your brain identify it as a dangerous scenario. The study revealed that people who have chronic abdominal pain also suffer from behavioural reactions. Such reactions made them irritable or experience mood swings.
Moreover, the brain will be confused eventually since the body feels the pain sporadically. If the pain is not relieved, the body’s signals will be disoriented, and the feelings of pain and worry will start to respond in the brain.
Most of the time, stomach problems can lead to anxiety, and vice versa. When the gastrointestinal tract gets too sensitive, it can trigger emotions like anger, fear, and sadness.
The brain can easily send signals to the stomach intestines. For example, the idea of eating coming from the brain can make stomach juices present before the food reach the stomach.
When the intestine has a feeling of discomfort, it can emit responses to the train. This is why a person who is feeling nauseous can also feel pain in the intestine when stressed.
Many people with gastrointestinal disorders are more susceptible to pain signals. The pain feels more pronounced when triggered by stress. Relieving abdominal pain doesn’t only improve your health but also your mood.