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Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Strange Correlation With Abdominal Pain


03-16-2015, 03:55 PM   #1
Chucky
 
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Strange Correlation With Abdominal Pain

Hi everybody!


I intentionally left off an important detail about my chronic abdominal pain. As soon as I mention this detail everyone always immediately assumes ibs without giving it further thought. I'm okay with it being Ibs; I just want to make sure something else doesn't get overlooked. For some strange reason my abdominal pain seems to correlate with my mood but not in the sense that one would expect. It's when my mood is elevated that my pain increases. If I get the least bit excited about anything my pain kicks in. The more elevated my pain gets the more pain I experience. The opposite is true as well. If I'm having a low to neutral mood the pain subsides. This is such an odd trigger for my pain. I guess the intestines get aggervated when I'm feeling good.

I was wondering if anybody else has experienced this relationship between mood and abdominal pain or have any suggestions about what it might be?

Thank you all for taking the time to read my post!

Best

Chuck
03-16-2015, 04:31 PM   #2
Cat-a-Tonic
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It may not be that your mood is causing pain, but rather that your abdominal symptoms are affecting your mood. There have been studies lately indicating that inflammation and/or an imbalance of intestinal bacteria can cause changes in the brain. I don't completely understand it, but it sounds like there is some connection there. So no, I would not outright say that you likely have IBS; you could have any number of things going on and it certainly could be IBD. Personally, my mood gets far worse on bad tummy days so I completely understand. In a terrible flare, I find that I cry at the drop of a hat (I've cried at TV commercials, and I've cried at just the thought of calling my mother - not even actually calling her, just the thought of it). Mood swings, bad moods, depression, crying fits, etc can all absolutely be a symptom of IBD.

I just did a quick google search and found this article - hopefully this explains some things better than I did:
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx
03-16-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
Chucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Cat-A-Tonic,

Thank you for your quick reply!

That's a very interesting perspective you have on the pain! That link you gave me was very informative; I learned some new ideas from it. The way I see it -- the more we learn the better we can improve our condition.

I hope you get to feeling better!

Sincerely

Chuck
03-16-2015, 05:55 PM   #4
Crohns08
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There is definitely a correlation between them - but it's more hormonal. Whenever I am with my spouse on the couch or just laying in bed my pain is not as bad. I read it is because oxytocin - the love hormone - is now believed to lessen intestinal inflammation. Whenever I am feeling rough my husband will cuddle with me and I do seem to notice my pain lessening. To clarify, it doesn't go away completely, it just helps make the pain more tolerable.
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03-17-2015, 05:51 AM   #5
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People are surprised that none of my symptoms correlate with my mood at all. Even though I have IBD, not IBS, I've had doctors insist that my symptoms must get worse when I'm stressed. They think I just don't want to admit it, but my symptoms simply don't vary like that.

So whatever correlations there are or aren't between your moods and your symptoms, it can't be used to determine what's wrong with your digestive system, so I'd ignore anyone who says you must have IBS because of this.

Also, is there any other factor between mood and symptoms that you might have overlooked? E.g. do you eat different foods or eat bigger meals, or eat less, when you're in a good mood? Or is the correlation too direct for that to be the case? E.g. do your symptoms start worsening as soon as your mood lifts, before things like changes in your eating could be involved?
03-17-2015, 06:00 AM   #6
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There is definitely a correlation between them - but it's more hormonal. Whenever I am with my spouse on the couch or just laying in bed my pain is not as bad. I read it is because oxytocin - the love hormone - is now believed to lessen intestinal inflammation. Whenever I am feeling rough my husband will cuddle with me and I do seem to notice my pain lessening. To clarify, it doesn't go away completely, it just helps make the pain more tolerable.
Another possibility is that you relax your muscles when with your husband, which reduces the pain.

When I was in hospital one time, I was in a lot of pain - in my abdomen, I'd just had surgery. They didn't want me taking any opiate painkillers as opiates slow the digestive system and my digestive system wouldn't get going again after the surgery. So they gave me diazepam instead. Diazepam relaxes you mentally, but it also causes your muscles to physically relax. And it really helped my stomach pain. On a more minor scale, holding a hot water bottle to your stomach has the same relaxing effect.

I'm just speculating of course. Maybe your husband just has special powers.
03-17-2015, 07:30 AM   #7
Crohns08
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Another possibility is that you relax your muscles when with your husband, which reduces the pain.

When I was in hospital one time, I was in a lot of pain - in my abdomen, I'd just had surgery. They didn't want me taking any opiate painkillers as opiates slow the digestive system and my digestive system wouldn't get going again after the surgery. So they gave me diazepam instead. Diazepam relaxes you mentally, but it also causes your muscles to physically relax. And it really helped my stomach pain. On a more minor scale, holding a hot water bottle to your stomach has the same relaxing effect.

I'm just speculating of course. Maybe your husband just has special powers.
As much as he would love that, I am attributing it more to neurogastroenterology. It was first ridiculed that a second brain exists in the GI tract but actually 70% of your immune system is there and it has neurotransmitters and hormones that control behaviors just like the brain. These are all recent findings and if you do a simple google search for yourself you'll see what I mean Most people get symptom flare ups from stress because of that horrible hormone, cortisol.
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