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Can Anxiety Cause A Warm Feeling And Pain In My Chest Prior To A Bowel Movement?

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

I have something that happens to me occasionally that is scary. This is always at rest and I will get very warm, will sometimes develop pain in my chest/sternum or back area and then will have a bowel movement. After the bowel movement, the warm sensation and pain goes away. Is this related to anxiety?

The situation you mentioned could be related to anxiety and how the stress of being anxious can affect the body.

For example, stress has a negative impact on the digestive system. The more stressed the body becomes, the more of an impact it can have. Experiencing digestive symptoms, such as you mentioned, are common when our stress is elevated, and especially when it is persistently elevated.

The symptom you described could be coming from your intestines, and more specifically, your large intestine. The large intestine circles behind the chest area on its way to the anus. If you are having digestive issues caused by stress, you might experience symptoms of digestive problems, such as gas, loose stool, and/or acidy excrement. All of which can cause pain and pressure in the chest/sternum area and the body to feel warm before the excrement exists the body.

The fact that you feel better after a bowel movement suggests it is digestion related, which could be caused by being persistently anxious.

As you deal with your body's overly stressed state and your anxiety issues, your body should warm and chest pain before bowel movement return to normal functioning and this symptom should disappear.

If this symptom continues to bother you, you may want to speak with our Natural Nutritional Therapist, Liliana Tosic, for ideas on how you can change your diet to avoid anxiety- and stress-caused stomach and digestive problems.

For more information about the many stomach and digestive symptoms associated with anxiety and the stress it causes, see the 'Stomach upset' symptom in our Anxiety Symptoms section.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions page.

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