“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

What causes a strong, warm surge sensation in the pit of my stomach after I have an anxious thought?

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 8, 2020


anxiety warm feeling in the stomach image

There is a tight mind/body connection. For example, the moment we believe we could be in danger, the body’s survival mechanism engages by releasing stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat – to either fight, flee or freeze.

This response is commonly referred to as the stress response, the fight or flight response, the emergency response, or the fight, flight, or freeze response (some people freeze when they are afraid like a “deer caught in headlights”).[1][2]

Visit our “Stress Response” article for more information about how the stress response is activated and all of the changes it brings about.

Some of the changes caused by the stress response include:

  • Shunts blood to parts of the body more important for survival, such as the brain and muscles, and away from those less important, such as the stomach and digestive system.
  • Tightens muscles so that the body is more resilient to harm, including stomach muscles.
  • Stimulates the body, which increases heart rate and respiration.

To name a few.

The release of stress hormones by the adrenal glands, the shunting of blood, or the tightening of stomach muscles, or a combination thereof, can cause a “warm feeling” in the stomach.

An increase in heart rate, an increase in respiration, and chest muscle tension, or a combination thereof, can also cause a “chest flutter” feeling. Many people experience “chest flutters” due to heart palpitations caused by the sudden release of stress hormones.

Any one or combination of the above can cause a “warm feeling” in the stomach and “chest flutters.”

 I (Jim Folk) used to get warm sensations in the stomach all the time when I was struggling with anxiety disorder. While these sensations can feel odd and unusual, they are a normal part of how the body responds to fear and the accompanying stress response.  As such, they needn't be a cause for concern.



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:


Advertisement



Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including why anxiety can cause a warm burst surge sensation in the stomach.


REFERENCES:

1. Folk, Jim. “The Stress Response.” Anxiety Attacks, Anxietycentre.com, 2020, www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety/stress-response.shtml.

2. " "The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis." DUJS Online. N.p., 03 Feb. 2011. Web. 19 May 2016.