You’ve probably heard the phrase “go with your gut” or “gut reaction.” You’ve probably made decisions based on this “gut feeling.”  And you’ve probably experienced the sensation of knots or butterflies in your stomach.

Your gut really is sending you messages - in fact, it’s sending them more often than you might realize.

“Our intestines contain what scientists have described as a ‘second brain’ with over 100,000 neurons,” says an article from Humm Kombucha, a manufacturer of Kombucha teas and drinks. “This second brain, the enteric nervous system, connects via the vagus nerve through tissue lining all the way back to our brain, allowing constant communication in our bodies from head to tush.”

That interlinked connection between brain and gut can have some surprising results.

“Feelings of fear, confusion, anger, joy and love all result in reactions in our intestines,” the article continues. “Dreams and nightmares result from their communication. Drugs designed to affect the brain have unintended consequences for the gut.”

Don’t ignore the messages your stomach is trying to tell you. Here are some common signals an upset stomach might be sending to your brain.

1. You’re too stressed.

Stress is the root of a number of health problems, and your stomach often gets the brunt of it. It can manifest itself as pain, knotting, cramps, and other adverse stomach issues because of the connection to the brain.

To alleviate stomach problems, try reducing stress. You might meditate or do yoga, letting go of the most stressful parts of your day.

2. You’re eating something you shouldn’t be.

Many people have some sensitivity to wheat or gluten, even if they aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten allergy. Gluten can be hard on your intestines, eating away at the lining and causing pain, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Many people are also allergic to things like dairy, tomatoes, and even chocolate. You might not swell up with this allergy, but you can have acid reflux, bloating, gas, pain, and vomiting. These types of allergies often show up later in life, so it might be worth getting tested.

3. You have a bacteria imbalance.

To maintain perfect health, our bodies rely on a balance of enzymes and good bacteria, especially in the stomach. If we’re eating poorly or taking aggressive antibiotics, we might have a bacteria imbalance.

If you’re dealing with an upset stomach because of a bacteria imbalance, a daily cup of yogurt, bottle of kombucha, or round of probiotics can restore order and balance to your intestines.

4. You’re eating too much junk and not getting enough nutrients.

You’re probably aware that eating too much junk food can lead to a stomach ache. However, you might also have long-lasting pain, cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or gas if you’re consistently eating junk food and leaving out essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean meats.

Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, a microbiologist specializing in gut bacteria, says that making the right food choices is the best way to calm an upset stomach.

"It’s the easiest and safest method," she told Best Health Magazine. "Everyone is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. Each person must learn what foods are right for them."

5. You’re constipated.

Have you been feeling bloated and gassy lately? It’s probably because you’re constipated.

Most people recognize the tight feeling of constipation at the late stages, but they often miss symptoms in the early stages. According to a 2014 study, more than 80 percent of people who get bloated are dealing with constipation in some form.

Grab a Fiber One bar or eat a couple of small meals with high-fiber content throughout the day. Drink a couple of liters of water as well. If that doesn’t help alleviate the symptoms, you can try a dose of over-the-counter laxatives before things get too painful.

6. You’re anxious or uncomfortable in a situation.

Those who experience anxiety or who have been through new and unfamiliar experiences often experience stomach pain as a result of their anxiety.

“The exact link between an anxiety attack and stomach pain is not exactly clear, other than the fact that during a panic attack your body is under a considerable amount of stress and your hormones are often on overdrive,” explains an article from CalmClinic. “In addition, those with anxiety attacks are prone to hyperventilation, which may lead to bloating which can cause its own stomach pain.”

To reduce stomach pain, take deep breaths, meditate, and practice other anti-anxiety behaviors. Certain foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates, and water can also help calm your symptoms.

When pursuing overall health and wellness, listening to your gut can have profound benefits. Learn the signals it’s sending to your brain, and respond with appropriate solutions to limit the damage.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.