Do you have a weird butterfly feeling in stomach in situations that are stressful? Have you ever wondered why you have a weird butterfly feeling in stomach? Does it happen to you that you feel like someone is tying knots in your stomach while you are in a stressful situation? This weird butterfly feeling in stomach is medically known as “Nervous Stomach”.

This term, in no way, should scare you. This is not a disease as such, but a term used to describe a set of symptoms, related to your gastrointestinal tract (or your digestive tract).

This weird feeling can be caused by different factors, that range from simple thing like stress, to anxiety disorders and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The general phenomenon why this happens is that when in stress blood is supplied more to organs like heart, and lungs, and less to the stomach. This leads to a weird butterfly feeling in stomach.

In this article we will discuss about this weird butterfly feeling in stomach in detail. The things discussed in this article are:

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Weird butterfly feeling in stomach can be caused by many a reason, and depending on that you may experience different additional symptoms. But there is a set of symptoms that all with nervous stomach experience including:

These symptoms might be different in children. Symptoms in children include irritability, stomach ache, and weakness.




Stress and anxiety are not something abnormal, but is normally felt by all of us at some point of life. Stress or anxiety is triggered by some stressful situation, where we feel afraid and uneasy. It is not always necessary that this fear comes from an apparent stress, but there are times when we feel stressed even when we can see no stress factor around.

Feeling anxious should be considered normal if it is in limits where you can manage it. But once this stress or anxiety gets uncontrollable, that is when it has to be checked and gotten medical care for.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but weird butterfly feeling in stomach is generally associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, or panic disorder. You may have a nervous stomach for no apparent reason in GAD, or because of your never-ending thoughts. In social anxiety is also known as social phobia. In social anxiety you cannot do well around people, or social gatherings. This includes your friendships and relationships, or even your work-related things.

In these fearful situations, your body sends more blood to your limbs (arms and legs) for you to run away from the situation, which is known as “flight”. Or to your heart, lungs, brain, and limbs again to “fight” the stress. This reaction is known as fight-and-flight reaction, and causes less blood flow to reach your stomach, and you experience weird butterfly feeling in stomach.

Other symptoms that are associated with anxiety are:



It is a syndrome that involves your large intestines. In IBS you have altered bowel movements for more than a few months, accompanied by many other symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome does not have a proper cause, and is not usually severe, and the mild symptoms can be managed by controlling what you eat, having a stable lifestyle, and by reducing stress.

In IBS, you may have muscle contractions, which may cause you to experience weird butterfly feeling in your stomach.

Symptoms of IBS include:

There is a criterion called ROME IV, which if fulfilled, IBS is diagnosed. On diagnosing IBS, this weird butterfly feeling in stomach you are experiencing may be chalked up to IBS.



These are sores or ulcers on the inside of your stomach and your duodenum (first part of your small intestine right after your stomach ends). Peptic ulcer disease or PUD includes two different types of ulcers- gastric and duodenal ulcer. Gastric ulcers are sores on your stomach, and duodenal are the sores on your duodenum.

There is a bacterium in your stomach called Helicobacter pylori, when this bacterium increases in your stomach it may cause peptic ulcer disease, or using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also cause this disease.

Symptoms of PUD include:



It is the inflammation of your gastrointestinal system or your digestive tract. It is usually caused by viruses, bacteria, or some drugs. It causes weird butterfly feeling in stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and many other symptoms.



Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD included two conditions called Ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Even when the two diseases have different mechanisms of how they occur and what they do, they have many symptoms in common including weird butterfly feeling in stomach.

Some symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include:



Food allergies are caused when you immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods you eat. You may be allergic many foods, all of which when eaten, may cause you to experience weird butterfly feeling in stomach.

You may be allergic to milk of cow and all the products that have milk in it (lactose intolerance), or to wheat and everything that had wheat in it (celiac disease).



If all other causes are ruled out, and if the feeling is recurrent and doesn’t go away, this might be because of thoracic and upper thorax discopathy. These discopathies cause visceral nerves to stimulate, that make you experience this feeling.



Because this weird butterfly feeling in stomach usually occurs because of stress, managing stress can be of a great help. You can try doing things that make you happy, calm you down, and this will in turn make your symptom go away. In case this anxiety is something you cannot control; you might have to consider medical help. You can always see a psychologist or a psychiatrist who may either talk you out of the stress and anxiety, or prescribe you with medicines to give you a sigh of relief.

You can manage your diet by adding probiotics to your diet. Healthy gut microbes help you live with a healthy gastrointestinal tract or your digestive tract. Unhealthy diet contributes to high acid production which in turn can lead to heartburn, weird butterfly feeling in stomach, constipation or diarrhea, or bloating.

To relieve yourself of the stress you can talk to your loved one, exercise, meditation (like yoga). You can avoid taking coffee as it worsens your anxiety and stress, which in turn makes your stomach feel full and you may experience weird butterfly feeling in stomach.



Even though this weird butterfly feeling in stomach is usually caused by stress and anxiety and should not be something you worry about, but if this uneasy feeling stays on for more than two weeks, you should definitely see a doctor. In addition to having weird feeling in stomach, if you see the below mentioned things, see medical care:



There are many ways how you can prevent your stomach to feel less weird. First and foremost, calm yourself down, save yourself from the exhaustion. Give yourself space, award yourself with breaks between the work you do. When you are in between the period of this break, do breathing exercise. Breathe slowly through your nose, hold your breath in, and then slowly release this air from your mouth.

You don’t have to agree and accept what people except you to do, if it is stressing you should always say no. You do not have to take responsibilities when you know they are going to overburden you and overwhelm you.

You should meditate, even if it is for ten minutes a day. Exercising makes your body release endorphins (chemicals in body), they make you feel good by acting on brain.

Reducing your stress can relieve you of the weird butterfly feeling in stomach. But you should always focus on your symptoms, check if they are worsening or making you unable to function proper. In that case you should see a doctor.

Other than controlling and managing your stress, you should get your diet right. Having a healthy diet will make sure your stomach functions well, which in turn will make your stress less, which will relieve you of your symptom. It is said when your gut is healthy you are happy.



Weird butterfly feeling in stomach is usually because of how strongly you body reacts to stress and anxiety. In most of the cases, it should not worry you, and if you manage your stress well you will see a drastic change in your condition.

But this stress is not the only cause as already mentioned. Other causes include IBD, IBD, PUD, and gastroenteritis. In case symptoms are seen related to these diseases, you may see the doctor, get yourself diagnosed and treated.

Medical care, symptomatic treatment, managing stress, and keeping your diet healthy is enough to relieve you of this weird butterfly feeling in stomach.