Knotting feeling in stomach


How often do you feel knotting feeling in stomach? How does this experience of knotting feeling in stomach feel like? Is it more than feeling butterflies in the stomach? Does knotting feeling in stomach cause pain and tightness? What is your definition for knotting feeling in stomach and what are its causes are discussed in the article below?

Knotting feeling in stomach is medically termed as ‘Tight stomach’. Knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach is not a disease but indicates an underlying disease. The underlying cause causing knotting feeling in stomach can be serious or minor. Cause may include hormonal issue, digestive issue or some other underlying issue.

To know more about your definition of knotting feeling in stomach, read the article below and know how to get rid of it and get a sigh of relief.

What does the article contain?


Causes of knotting feeling in stomach




When to see a doctor



Causes of knotting feeling in stomach:

  1. Indigestion: Indigestion also called as dyspepsia is a discomfort in the stomach and is manifested in a number of ways which include; fullness after eating, acidity, pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating etc. Indigestion can be transient or may be an indication of underlying health issue like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), celiac disease, pancreatitis, ulcers or gallbladder related issues. Indigestion can be a manifestation of its own and may go away within time. There are some triggers to indigestion which results in the above mentioned symptoms or manifestations. The triggers are as below:
  1. Eating too quickly or over-eating
  2. Consuming caffeine or alcohol
  3. Anxiety
  4. Habit of smoking
  5. Some medications

Most of the cases of indigestion are treated with life-style modifications and medications. Controlling and managing anxiety, stress, sleeping on time can help to get rid of this knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach.


  1. Constipation: Constipation is defined as less than 3 bowel movements a week and is caused due to poor diet usually but can have some other serious causes and results when stools remain in colon for linger durations and become hard and difficult to pass. Normal bowel movement is 2-3 days per day or 2-3 times per week. Other symptoms attributed to constipation are:
  1. Dry and hard stools
  2. Strain during passing stools
  3. Incomplete defecation
  4. Rectal blockage
  5. Pain in abdomen or knotting feeling in stomach

Constipation can be treated with dietary changes like drinking plenty water and high- fiber diet and in some cases medications like laxatives and probiotics may be needed.


  1. Food poisoning: Food poisoning results when you eat toxic, stale or poisoned food and causes knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach. In addition to tight stomach or knotting feeling in stomach is accompanied by a number of symptoms are below:
  1. Abdominal cramps
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Headache
  5. Mild fever

Food poisoning can be treated at home with hydration, rest and sometimes some over-the-counter medications. In some severe cases hospital admissions and hydration with intravenous fluids may be administered.


  1. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome): IBS is a condition with a group of symptoms which includes stomach tightening or knotting feeling in stomach in addition to the below mentioned symptoms:
  1. Bloating
  2. Cramping
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Constipation
  5. Pain in abdomen

IBS is diagnosed based on ROME IV criteria and can be treated by making dietary changes and lifestyle changes like managing stress, eating selected foods etc. and in some cases medication can be required.


  1. Hiatal hernia: Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the part of stomach slides through the diaphragm into the upper chest cavity and can result in knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach. There are a number of symptoms associated with it which include:
  2. Heartburn
  3. Bloating
  4. Acidity/ acid reflux
  5. Nausea
  6. Difficulty in swallowing

Generally hiatal hernia doesn’t require surgical interventions and may require medications like anti-acids and some dietary changes.


  1. Gastritis: Gastritis is a condition in which the lining of the stomach is inflamed and the cause of inflammation is versatile. This condition results in a number of symptoms in addition to knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach which includes:
  1. Heartburn 
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Fullness after eating/ early satiety
  5. Pain in abdomen
  6. Indigestion

Gastritis can be treated symptomatically by using anti-acids, proton pump inhibitors (PPI), and histamine blockers.

  1. Anxiety: Anxiety is a condition in which there is excessive worry, sense of danger and fear and is disproportionate to the situation. In most of the cases it can be somatic resulting into mild to severe manifestations and can manifest in different forms such as heart palpitations, abdominal pain, general body pain, limping etc. Anxiety can also result in nervous stomach where a person can feel butterflies in the stomach and knotting feeling in stomach. Some other symptoms of anxiety include:
  1. Heavy sweating
  2. Weakness
  3. Lethargy
  4. Muscle twitching
  5. Restlessness
  6. Feeling of danger or panic

 Anxiety can be treated based on the degree of it and can result from simple lifestyle modification like maintaining sleep cycle, eating healthy to medications or therapy.

  1. Pre- menstrual syndrome (PMS): This syndrome happens before two weeks or a week of menstrual period and results in a number of symptoms in addition to tight stomach or knotting feeling in stomach and includes:


  1. Abdominal cramps
  2. Nausea
  3. Mood swings
  4. Irritability
  5. Tender or sore breasts
  6. Bloating
  7. Fatigue
  8. Acne
  9. Food cravings

All these symptoms can be managed by conservative symptoms and include:

Exercising, eating foods to reduce bloating like eating small meals and fiber rich foods and avoiding salt rich foods, eating fruits and vegetables, taking chamomile tea and sometimes taking painkillers may help.


  1. Pregnancy: In the early stages of pregnancy a person may experience knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach due to uterus stretching or womb stretching and is normal. If the pain gets severe doctor should be consulted as it may be a sign of miscarriage particularly in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and later in the second or third trimester due to labor contractions or Braxton- Hicks contraction that are more common in third trimester and if these contractions are persistent these may indicate initiation of labor.

This tight stomach or knotting feeling in stomach can be treated by walking or stretching or sitting and lying intermittently. 



Diagnosis can be based on detailed history and keen physical examination. History involves asking the patient about food they have consumed, bowel habits, acidity, about last menstruation and about pregnancy. Detailed history is the key to diagnosis. Physical examination includes examining the abdomen, checking the tenderness and auscultating the abdomen. Imaging may also be necessary which includes endoscopy, ultrasonography or you may run simple blood tests, stool tests or tests for helicobacter pylori in case of acidity.



Treatment is cause based and thus is different. Treatment involves simple conservative treatment to medications. Taking a healthy diet, sleeping on time, dietary changes, managing stress is the key to conservative treatment for almost all of the above mentioned causes. Medications involve taking anti-anxiety medications, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), pain killers and some over the counter drugs for trivial issues like premenstrual cramps etc.



Prevention is better than suffering from the discomfort of knotting like feeling in stomach and can be done in a number of ways depending on the cause and the knotting feeling in stomach can be prevented in some cases and in some cases it is inevitable like pregnancy and food poisoning. Prevention can be done in a number of ways included like eating healthy, proper hydration, exercising, reducing stress etc.


When to see a doctor

Knotting feeling in stomach is not dangerous and usually goes away itself and does not require medical attention but in some cases may be serious underlying condition. If in addition to tight stomach or knotting feeling in stomach if the symptoms mentioned below are seen consult your doctor as soon as possible:

  1. Severe pain
  2. Swelling or inflammation of stomach
  3. Reduction in weight
  4. Fever
  5. Blood in stools
  6. Continuous nausea and vomiting
  7. Yellow colored or tint of skin
  8. Weird changes or unexplained changes in bowel habits
  9. Difficulty in breathing



Tight stomach or knotting feeling in stomach is not a big concern usually but if the symptoms persists and any of the above mentioned symptoms are seen you may need an immediate medical care. Knotting feeling in stomach or tight stomach may be related to hormonal or digestive causes. The condition can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the underlying cause and may need medical care accordingly. The symptoms usually go away with a little treatment or no treatment but sometimes demand hospital admissions.

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