The intestinal system is a marvelous mirror of the internal workings of the brain.
Tensions, anxieties, stresses are very quickly reflected back in abdominal discomfort and even pain. As the nervous impulses occur, they invariably have an instant and often painful result.
Increased bowel activity is frequently the first noticeable effect of nervous tension. This often means pain. You may notice loose, frequent bowel actions as the waves of contraction along the bowel increase in rate.
As there is less time for fluid from food to be absorbed in the bowel, it comes away in the form of diarrhea. “Nervous diarrhea” is a well-known aftermath of stress and tension, as anyone undergoing important examinations, interviews, and similar stress situations knows only too well!
But there are plenty of other reasons for the condition. Under increased nervous tension, the acid-producing cells in the wall of the stomach manufacture more hydrochloric acid.
In turn, this mixes with the food present, and greater amounts of gas are produced. Again this mixes with air already present (air-swallowing is another result of nervousness), and intestinal distension occurs.
The bowel dislikes being overstretched. When this occurs pain takes place. So the nauseating cramps and stomach aches ensue.
Another common situation that produces pain and discomfort is spasm of the muscle layers in the bowel wall. It is very similar to a cramp in the muscles of the leg and just as painful.
Until the spasm passes, either with time, rest, or by the use of anti-spasmodic tablets, the discomfort will persist.
So the unhappy set of symptoms becomes established. Distension of the stomach or lower section of the bowel occurs. Spasm takes place. Gas formation means that greater amounts of wind and air rumble through the bowel. Looseness is a feature too.
The best way to overcome the problem is not to make the bowel work overtime. Restrict your diet.
Often nervous tension is psychological. Learning to relax, learning how to cope with stress situations, learning the basic fundamentals of self-tranquilization, are the best ways of treating (and preventing) these uncomfortable symptoms.
However, many forms of medication can help. Tranquillizers, sedatives, antacids, antispasmodics have all been used with varying degrees of success.