HomeAcidCan Stress Cause Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Can Stress Cause Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Psychiatric Disorders And Pain Perception

Can anxiety cause acid reflux symptoms?

Vic Velanovich, MD, a gastrointestinal surgeon and another one of the studys authors, says this is not an isolated phenomenon but part of a broader problem in assessing the severity of disease. Its always very difficult to correlate patient-perceived symptoms with actual physiological measures, he says.

Dr. Velanovich offers a neurological explanation. Its called the pain modulation network. Pain is converted to electrical signals that travel to the brain. Its interpreted there by the frontal cortex, he says. So anything happening in the frontal cortex, including mental disorders, makes pain perception worse.

However, experts emphasize that this is not the patients fault, and it is in no way all in their heads.

This is just how complicated human beings are, Dr. Lupe says. As you put the system under stress, there is more dysfunction within the system as a whole, and that means we’re going to interpret the things that are going on in our body as more threatening. That doesn’t mean it’s in your head those are real problems happening in our body.

He likens it to an engine running at 5,000 revolutions per minute. There’s nothing wrong with the engine when it starts to have some problems, he says. Its just the stress of running it that high can cause some problems. It’s the same thing inside the human body. That’s why we see stress is linked to all health conditions.

Digestive Enzymes Enhance Stomach Emptying

When you eat a meal, the food that enters your stomach is subjected to a mixture of acid and enzymes that help to break the swallowed material into smaller particles that can eventually leave the stomach and enter the small intestine, where more enzymes continue the digestive process. In conditions in which insufficient gastric acid is present to activate your digestive enzymes, or when digestive enzymes are not produced in sufficient amounts, gastric emptying is delayed. This can occur during treatment with acid-blocking medications or as a result of pancreatic disorders.

Acid Reflux Anxiety And Heart Palpitations

This is a fairly common situation and certainly, these are very worrying episodes for those who suffer them.

In some cases, they are true panic attacks.

But theres more: in fact, according to the American Heart Association, panic attacks can also be the only ones responsible for chest pain, another typical symptom of acid reflux.

This might make things more complicated.

This because a person can have both anxiety-related heartburn, and GERD-related heartburn together.

There is evidence that anxiety are associated with increased severity of retrosternal pain and heartburn.

This leads to a significant impairment of the quality of life

Given that, we can better understand why the best remedies for people who suffer from these conditions is a more comprehensive approach, that works on both reflux and anxiety as well.

This has not to be done with drugs, but with natural elements that make everything safer and more lasting over time.

Such an approach will help you get rid of symptoms, that may be very serious, as were going to discover in the following section.

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Check If You Have Acid Reflux

The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
  • an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid

You may also have:

  • a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
  • a hoarse voice

Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

Tests And Surgery For Heartburn And Acid Reflux

If medicines do not help or your symptoms are severe, a GP may refer you to a specialist for:

  • tests to find out what’s causing your symptoms, such as a gastroscopy
  • an operation on your stomach to stop acid reflux called a laparoscopic fundoplication

Page last reviewed: 09 September 2020 Next review due: 09 September 2023

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Acid Reflux And Anxiety Symptoms

Talking about symptoms, there are some common manifestations of anxiety, when it is found together with acid reflux.

We believe thats important to spend words about them, because of two main reasons:

  • When anxiety and reflux are present together, you feel more intense symptoms, starting from heartburn
  • Heartburn can also be a result of anxiety alone, thats why you must know what your condition really is

One of the first symptoms to remember is hyperventilation.

This is very common for people who suffer from anxiety, and in some cases, it also causes chest pain thats very similar to heartburn.

When it happens, however, the reason is muscle tension. The final result might be hard to distinguish from heartburn, though.

More than hyperventilation, anxiety generally causes the following.

Those listed above are just a selection of symptoms and reasons why they are so important when a person suffers from both anxiety and acid reflux.

Whatever the case, its always suggested to make an effort to understand if heartburn is the result of anxiety alone, or its true gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Anxiety also increases a lot in a specific category of people, more precisely LPR sufferers .

This happens in almost all cases for patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome .

In short, the occurrence of LPR in people who also are suffering from OSAS induces depression and anxiety.

Baseline Characteristics Of The Study Subjects

A total of 6,834 subjects were included in this study. Women accounted for 45 % of subjects, and the mean age of all subjects was 43.9 years. Reflux esophagitis was found in 407 and active to healing-stage PUD was found in 404 subjects .

The study population was classified into two groups according to BEPSI-K scores: the stress group and the reference group. The stress group was defined as those having a BEPSI-K score > 2.4. A total of 902 subjects were included in the stress group, with a mean BEPSI-K score of 2.92 ± 0.61 . Compared with the reference group, women were more common, and the mean age was younger in the stress group. The proportion of coffee drinkers was relatively smaller in the stress group. Subjects who were current smokers and those with low education and low income were more common in the stress group than the reference group. Subjects with reflux esophagitis were more prevalent in the stress group compared with the reference group . The prevalence of PUD in the stress group was higher than that in the reference group however, the difference did not reach statistical significance . Seriously obese people were more common in the high-stress group .

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How Do I Relieve Heartburn From Stress

Stress can contribute to heartburn and make heartburn worse. Reducing stress may help reduce heartburn. The following tips are some lifestyle changes that you can start making to stay one step ahead of it.

Tip #1: Avoid heartburn-triggering foods and eating too much when youre stressed out. To learn more about healthier food options to help reduce your stress-related heartburn symptoms, please check out Curists other articles:

Tip #2: Practice sleep hygienedark, quiet rooms regular bedtimeand get a full nights sleep as often as possible. Sleep hygiene also includes going to bed without a full stomach, so skip the late-night stress snacks.

Tip #3: Put down alcohol and cigarettes. Many people reach for these when theyre feeling jittery or nervous, but they can both contribute to heartburn.

Tip #4: Stay active. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress as well as aid digestion. It is helpful for combating the stress response to the digestive system.

How Can You Decrease Stress

Emotional Stress: Acid Reflux

Adopting some lifestyle changes can help reduce heartburn and acid reflux and the risk of developing other conditions such as heart disease or depression. Some recommended lifestyle changes in this case are:

  • Exercising regularly, preferably outdoors
  • Avoiding trigger foods, particularly acidic foods, e.g., spicy foods, fatty foods, tomatoes, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate.
  • Taking healthy foods eating mindfully and slowly
  • Getting enough quality sleep and relaxation time
  • Taking up relaxation techniques such as meditation
  • Seeking the help of a professional, such as a therapist, when needed

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Include Exercise In Your Routine

When were anxious our muscles tense up, and this can last even when the initial period of stress has ended. Exercise aids stress relief. It helps you to unwind and releases feel-good hormones into the body. In return, your muscles will also relax.

If you have acid reflux, you might not feel up for doing a full-on exercise routine or even a run. Thats ok! Whats important here is to get your body moving. That can be anything from a gentle walk to cycling or even an inside dance routine to get those muscles moving and relaxing.

Are Acid Reflux Disease And Constipation Related

Constipation is an acute or chronic condition in which bowel movements occur less frequently than usual or stools are hard, dry, painful or difficult to pass . Constipation and functional bowel disorders are more common among those with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease . There are multiple known and unknown reasons why acid reflux and constipation often overlap.

One reason that acid reflux may cause constipation is that acid reflux medications can cause constipation . Proton pump inhibitors and antacids that contain aluminum can contribute to constipation.

Food allergies can be another reason that acid reflux and constipation often go together. According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology , cow milk allergy is responsible for approximately 40 percent of GERD cases and 70 percent of chronic constipation.

Delayed gastric emptying can cause both constipation and upper abdomen discomfort . The reasons that some have slower digestion are not always known.

Because constipation can cause or aggravate acid reflux, it is an important issue to address. You should call a doctor immediately if you or your childs feces are blood-stained or if there is a sudden change in bowel habits. Otherwise, there are several at-home treatments that may provide some relief:

  • Avoid cow milk.

  • Include foods high in fiber in every meal .

  • Eat yogurt containing probiotics or take a probiotic supplement.

  • Drink plenty of water each day.

  • Exercise 20 30 minutes each day.

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    Causes Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux

    Lots of people get heartburn from time to time. There’s often no obvious reason why.

    Sometimes it’s caused or made worse by:

    • certain food and drink such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
    • being overweight
    • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers
    • a hiatus hernia when part of your stomach moves up into your chest

    Tackling Heartburn And Acid Reflux With Emazole Control

    Emazole Control is used in adults for the short-term treatment of reflux symptoms, for example, heartburn and acid reflux. It contains esomeprazole, a molecule that belongs to the class of medicines referred to as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs.

    PPIs are considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organisation. They are among the most widely used medications in the world.

    Improvement of symptoms will be felt within 2-3 days of taking Emazole Control. The duration of the treatment is up to 2 consecutive weeks. Upon complete relief of symptoms, the treatment should be stopped.

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    Tips For Managing Gerd And Anxiety

    For a patient who suffers from both GERD and anxiety, Lupe says that treatment should focus on caring for the whole person.

    This includes traditional medical treatments like proton pump inhibitors, antacids, and H2 blockers. These are treatments that will actually go after anything physically that could be going on with acid dysregulation or dysfunction within the stomach, Lupe says.

    Certain lifestyle changes can also help alleviate GERD symptoms:

    • Avoiding common trigger foods and beverages like fatty or fried foods, citrus, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, caffeine, and alcohol
    • Eating small, frequent meals
    • Avoiding lying down after meals
    • Not wearing tight-fitting clothing
    • Quit smoking

    In addition to these steps to treat physical symptoms, finding ways to manage stress and anxiety should also be part of the treatment plan, Lupe says. These may include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, and hypnosis.

    These interventions can reduce the load on the central nervous system and help with the reregulation of detection of symptoms, Lupe says. Because if the patient’s detecting things that aren’t necessarily happening due to developed hypersensitivity, the medications aren’t going to be as effective.

    Treating Gerd And Anxiety

    If someone has GERD and anxiety, it is particularly important for a treatment plan to be devised with both of these conditions in mind. This is because common medications used to treat anxiety have been found to worsen GERD symptoms.

    Medications to avoid in treating anxiety and GERD include:

    • Tricyclic antidepressants:These have been shown to lower esophageal sphincter pressure.
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors :These impair esophageal motility, which can lead to episodes of acid reflux.
    • Benzodiazepines: These can lower the bodys pain threshold, which may increase a persons sensitivity to and painful perception of reflux symptoms.

    Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are another medication that is commonly used to treat anxiety, which has not been shown to worsen GERD symptoms. It is important to discuss the best medication for you with your healthcare provider, taking into account your personal history and unique situation.

    Healthcare providers use a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medication to treat GERD. In rarer cases, surgery might be indicated.

    Typical treatments for GERD that are not contraindicated if you also have anxiety include:

    • Over-the-counter antacids
    • Sleep hygiene

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    Gerd And Anxiety: What Causes The Link

    Researchers say that many factors are at play that may explain the association between anxiety and GERD, particularly when it comes to the effects of stress on the gastrointestinal tract.

    The authors of the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility study describe a few of these underlying mechanisms. The first is that anxiety may decrease pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, the band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that allows food and liquid to pass to the stomach. When this sphincter relaxes abnormally, stomach acid can flow back up through the esophagus, causing heartburn. Stress caused by anxiety may also affect contractions occurring in the esophagus, which propel food toward the stomach. If these contractions become irregular, it can lead to reflux. Finally, high stress and anxiety levels may increase the production of stomach acid.

    Other research suggests that patients with mental health issues like anxiety may be more sensitive to small changes in their digestive tract. For example, a study published in February 2019 in the journal Surgical Endoscopy examined more than 200 patients who suspected they had GERD. Each patient took a 14-item questionnaire to test for anxiety and depression. Some of the patients had these mental health issues and others did not.

    What Is Causing My Abdominal Pain

    Can anxiety and stress cause heartburn?

    Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and pelvic region and can range from a minor problem to one needing urgent attention. Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan at Gwinnett Digestive Clinic in Lawrenceville, GA, offers the latest treatments for gastrointestinal conditions.

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    How To Reduce Acid Reflux And Stress

    The Stress-Heartburn Connection

    Heartburn and stress are related, but which condition causes the other? Many people with acid reflux admit they often feel stressed and anxious, but the pain and discomfort of reflux can be extremely stressful. Stomach upset, regurgitation, chest pain, coughing and throat burning can cause loss of appetite, irritability and insomnia resulting in an intricate cycle of physical and emotional turmoil. Its not surprising researchers continue to study the complex relationship between reflux and anxiety.

    Stress Leads to Unhealthy Behaviors

    Your digestive health is inextricably connected with your emotions. You may notice acid reflux increases during a family crisis or a job transition. Some studies suggest tension in the workplace or low job satisfaction increases the risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease , a progressive disease that can lead to long-term digestive complications.

    Other research claims tension does not escalate acid production or regurgitation. Rather, it reduces the pain threshold and makes the esophagus more sensitive to acid erosion. Stressful situations can also cause you to overeat, drink alcohol, smoke and eat unhealthy food, which can all contribute to reflux and heartburn.

    Lifestyle Choices to Prevent Stress and Heartburn

    Regardless of whether stress causes heartburn or heartburn causes stress, you can prevent both by:

    • Eating a healthy, low-acid diet
    • Exercising regularly

    Acid Reflux Disease During Pregnancy

    Pregnant women tend to suffer from acid reflux disease, especially those who are entering their third trimester, as the womb will have increased to such a size that it will be impacting upon the stomach. This means that food being digested there is likely to be reflux into the esophagus. Moreover, hormonal changes taking place during pregnancy will result in decreased efficiency of digestion.

    Pregnant women experiencing this problem should be sure to refrain from purchasing over-the-counter medication as some such products might negatively impact the health of the fetus or the mother. Instead, consult a doctor who will prescribe treatment based on the symptoms being presented.

    Acid reflux disease can disturb a persons daily life and cause them to lose face due to its embarrassing symptoms. If left untreated until it becomes a chronic condition, it has the potential to lead to esophageal cancer, which could ultimately be fatal. For this reason, be sure to take good care of your health, avoid potential risk factors that could lead to a flareup of the condition, and consult a doctor regarding treatment and advice. Then, ensure that you strictly adhere to your doctors recommendations if you wish to stave off acid reflux disease.

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