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Upset tummy or anxiety?

Why a stomach ache might be the sign of anxiety in your child

Stomach aches are a common complaint among children, but have you ever thought that they might also be a sign of anxiety?

Anxiety and the Gut-Brain Connection

Anxiety and the digestive system are closely connected. When a child experiences anxiety, the body releases stress hormones, which can cause physical symptoms, such as a stomach ache. This connection between the gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis, and it’s why a child may experience stomach discomfort when feeling anxious.

Warning Signs of Anxiety in Children

In addition to a stomach ache, other warning signs of anxiety in children include:


  • Irritability or restlessness

  • Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling or staying asleep

  •  Muscle tension and headaches

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Lack of appetite

  • Avoidance of social situations or activities

  • Difficulty concentrating

How to Help Your Child

If you suspect that your child’s stomach ache is due to anxiety, there are several things you can do to help:


  • Encourage open communication: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and concerns. Listen actively to what they have to say and validate their experiences.

  • Practice self-care: Teach your child healthy coping strategies, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and exercise.

  • Provide structure and routine: Create a predictable daily routine to help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of security.

  • Seek professional help: If your child’s anxiety is persistent and interferes with daily life, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional.

  • Be patient and understanding: Remember that healing from anxiety takes time and that your child may need support and understanding along the way.

A stomach ache in a child can be a sign of anxiety - By understanding the gut-brain connection, recognizing warning signs, and providing support and understanding, you can help your child overcome anxiety and lead a happy and healthy life. 

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