Stress can cause a stomachache, and an even more serious condition called gastritis. If your bout of indigestion or inflammation lingers for a week or more – or if there is blood in your vomit or feces – you should see a physician to determine if you have gastritis.
“Stress-induced gastritis is well-known,” says Wilson P. Pais, MD, MBA, FACP, FRCP, gastroenterologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “The stomach lining gets damaged, and once the damage sets in, ulcers form. Once the ulcers form, the blood vessels get exposed and people bleed. A hemorrhage is the end product.
“Gastritis is predominantly an inflammatory process, but there may also be associated mucosal injury,” continues Pais. “The stomach is normally protected by a mucous layer, but this barrier may be eroded by increased concentrations of refluxed bile salts or uremic toxins.”