Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol increases the amount of acid the stomach produces and relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter . If you do want to have some alcohol during your festivities, try the following tips:
- Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda.
- Limit alcohol consumption to one or two mixed drinks, no more than 16 ounces of wine, or and no more than three beers.
- Drink white wine instead of red wine.
- Choose non-alcoholic beer or wine.
- Keep track of which alcoholic drinks aggravate your heartburn, and avoid them as much as possible.
Acid Reflux And Stress Faq
Acid reflux affects almost everyone at some time or another. However, for some, it can become debilitating and genuinely get in the way of everyday life. To help you cope with acid reflux, weve been answering your question, such as what is acid reflux?, what causes acid reflux and what acid reflux symptoms should I watch out for? and heres what we discovered.
What Does Heartburn Look Like
Acid reflux is when the acid that is normally in the stomach backs up into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. A small amount of acid reflux is normal. If the reflux happens frequently, it can give the sensation of heartburn as a result of irritation to the esophageal lining.
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How To Relieve Stress Triggered By Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is usually managed by antacids and proton-pump inhibitors . These medications neutralize stomach acid so that it wont irritate the esophagus. Problem solved. Or not?
Depending on your condition, such medications might be required, let your doctor decide that. However, there is a lot you can do the help your body manage the symptoms.
If certain foods cause acid reflux, try to avoid those foods. If stress causes acid reflux, try to alleviate stress. Easier said than done, a few tips might help:
- physical activity
What You Can Do
How do you know if stress is contributing to your heartburn? You will probably have other symptoms of stress that go along with heartburn. These could include , , trouble sleeping, restlessness, anxiety, , and trouble concentrating.
Reducing your stress may help reduce your heartburn symptoms. Try these tips for dealing with stress:
- Don’t smoke or drink. Both can cause heartburn.
- Get some exercise. It helps reduce stress and digestion.
- Try mind-body stress reducers. Examples are meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and guided relaxation.
- Get a good nights sleep as often as possible.
- Avoid late-night snacking to relieve stress. Going to bed with a full stomach leads to acid reflux and heartburn.
- Make some attitude adjustments. Try to be less controlling and more accepting.
- Talk to someone about your stress. Just confiding in a friend can help. If you need more feedback, talk to your doctor.
Stress can be a major contributor to . But, there can be many other causes, too. These include being overweight, eating heartburn-producing foods, drinking too much coffee, , and eating too close to bedtime. Frequent heartburn can also be a warning sign for several important medical conditions. If you have heartburn twice a week or more, talk to your doctor.
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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.
What Are Prescription Medications For Heartburn
If over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers do not relieve your heartburn, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription for other medicines, such as:
- Prescription-strength acid blockers: In prescription-strength , Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid® and Axid® can generally relieve heartburn and treat GERD.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These are drugs that block acid production more effectively. Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec® and Protonix®.
There are some proton pump inhibitors that can be purchased over-the-counter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these medications and what is best for you.
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So Is It Physical Mental Or Functions Of Both That Are The Cause
How exactly stress brings about heartburn isnt well understood and may differ between people. So, there are plausible physical explanations such as increased or decreased acid, both of which can affect the functioning of the LOS. But, as well as this, there may be some mental factors linked to the brain-gut connection theory.
During periods of stress your perceptions and response to pain can also change. This phenomenon is also thought to have a part to play in IBS, as it suggests certain groups of people, under certain circumstances, can have a heightened response to pain. This means you have a more pronounced reaction to pain in comparison to someone who isnt so stressed.
Interestingly, in addition to this, the type of stress you are under is important. When your stress coincides with stimulating emotions you are less likely to feel pain. This is often reported in people who suffer severe injuries. However, when your stress happens together with more subdued emotions relating to stress, such as anxiety, you are thought to have a heightened response to pain. This theory could also have a part to play.
Can Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux
As discussed above, stress and anxiety share some overlap, as far as symptoms go. Stressful situations may worsen your heartburn pain, and depending on how your body reacts to stress, they can also trigger anxiety. While more research needs to be done on the topic, some studies report a connection between acid reflux symptoms and anxiety.4 If a person suffers from stress or anxiety, they may also experience symptoms of acid reflux.
Keep in mind that this does not mean anxiety necessarily directly causes acid reflux. Just like stress, anxiety may make you more sensitive to heartburn pain, making symptoms harder to manage.5 In addition, frequent acid reflux itself can be a stressful experience, which can trigger anxiety or anxious feelings in certain individuals. In a way, it can be a continuous circle, with anxiety affecting acid reflux and vice versa.
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So How Does Stress Affect Heartburn & Acid Reflux
Currently, it is still debatable whether stress increases the production of stomach acid or physically worsen the symptoms of heartburn in acid reflux. More research needs to be done before researchers can clearly define the mechanism behind the relationship between stress and heartburn on a more psychological or physical level. As of now, many scientists believe that heartburn symptoms can be easily triggered when you are in stressful situations.
Is Acid Reflux Worse With Stress
This is a quite challenging question to answer.To keep things simple, we can say that there are two reasons why acid reflux in the presence of stress could be more serious.
Given the frequent association between stress and anxiety, it has been proved that people with both of these conditions may perceive low-intensity esophageal stimuli as painful reflux symptoms.
This is even more important if we think that those people did not have an actual increase in gastric acid.
Its just a matter of perception of symptoms, which are amplified by the stress condition.
This is also what hinders the success of treatment: the reduction of symptoms is more difficult, just because of the presence of such a low perception threshold.
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Stress And Silent Reflux
When stomach acids can flow all the way up to the throat, we talk about silent reflux .
Many people with LPR dont experience heartburn at all. The typical symptoms are:
- lump in throat
According to Cleveland Clinic, being overstressed is one of the risk factors of silent reflux.
This study found that depression is also common in people with silent reflux: LPR was significantly more frequent in those with depression than in those without.
The study examined depression in people with silent reflux symptoms and not the other way around. This raises the question: can reflux cause stress?
Heartburn Causes And Risk Factors
Heartburn symptoms can start up because of a problem with a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter . It’s located where the esophagus meets the stomach — below the rib cage and slightly left of center.
Normally, with the help of gravity, the LES keeps stomach acid right where it should be — in your stomach. When it’s working right, the LES opens to allow food into your stomach or to let you belch, then closes again. But if the LES opens too often or doesn’t close tightly enough, stomach acid can seep into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.
If your LES doesn’t tighten as it should, there are often two things that contribute to the problem. One is overeating, which puts too much food in your stomach. Another is too much pressure on your stomach, often due to obesity, pregnancy, or constipation.
Certain foods can relax your LES or increase stomach acid, including:
If you’re pregnant, the hormone progesterone can relax your LES and lead to heartburn. Smoking also relaxes the LES and increases stomach acid.
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Seek Medical Help When Needed
Antacids are commonly the most common medical treatment when it comes to acid reflux. These work by neutralizing your stomach acid, making those symptoms less intense. If these dont help, your doctor may recommend foaming agents, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors, that work to reduce acid production or coat the stomach and prevent the acid-causing issues.
If you notice your heartburn is severe, its best to seek help to get the right treatment option for you and not self-medicate.
So How Does All This Stress Lead To Heartburn And Indigestion
Well, the relationship between stress and digestive problems is not an obvious one but stress can sometimes contribute to symptoms of indigestion. Having pressure on your stomach can also be a trigger for heartburn so with one of the symptoms of stress being muscle tension, there may a link.
If stomach acid is able to rise up into your oesophagus, you may start to feel the pain of heartburn in your chest area. Apart from this, stress can also affect the digestive system.
If you are suffering from heartburn or indigestion, Gaviscon Double Action can help you in the short term. For more long term solutions, learning how to manage and reduce your level of stress will not only help you feel happier and in a better mood, but it could also improve your health!
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Here Are Some Of The Reasons Stress Heartburn Occurs:
- Stress may cause changes in your brain that amplifies pain receptors, making you physically more sensitive to slight increases in stomach acid levels. In other words, your heartburn may not be stronger during stress but just more noticeable.
- Stress can also deplete the production of compounds known as prostaglandins, which normally serve as a barrier and protect your stomach from the effects of acid. This may increase your perception of discomfort.
- The brain has a direct effect on the digestive system. Stress can cause digestive changes, and similarly digestive changes can cause stress reactions in the brain and body.
- Stress can slow down digestion. Have you ever noticed that you may lose your appetite when stressed out? That is because your body is slowing down the digestion process, keeping food in your stomach longer, and as a result, giving stomach acids more time to cause stress-related heartburn.
Regardless of what exactly happens in the brain and body, for those who experience heartburn symptoms, we understand that stress can make you feel uncomfortable.
Can Anxiety And Stress Cause Heartburn
January 16, 2015 by Jenny
Hi. Its Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Patricia in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Can anxiety and stress cause heartburn?
Heartburn is that awful burning sensation followed by the rise of acid into your throat and mouth. If the lower esophageal sphincter remains open, acid escapes and causes heartburn. Gastro esophageal reflex disease is experienced by people of all ages. Antacids can bring relief within a few minutes.
We know that eating certain foods, wearing tight-fitting clothes, pregnancy, and having a medical condition such as diabetes can trigger heartburn, but can anxiety and stress cause heartburn? Yes. It can. In fact, chronic anxiety affects our daily lives and the excessive use of drugs, alcohol, and overeating as a way to seek relief for stress exacerbates the problem.
It isnt simply a case of living with the discomfort of heartburn. Left untreated, you end up with serious long-term side effects. One of these is a chronic cough and a condition known as esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus, where you can develop ulcers on the lining of the esophagus. Long-term acid exposure also leads to Barretts Esophagus, where abnormal cells can turn cancerous.
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Acid Reflux Causes Stress: What About That
This is certainly possible, just because of the close relationship between acid reflux and stress.
In particular, this applies to chronic reflux symptoms.
In fact, they represent very bothersome experience in daily living, with a significant impairment of the quality of life. Depending on their intensity and frequency, they are an important risk factor for developing constant stress over time.
But theres more.
Chronic reflux is very likely to cause sleep disturbance and/or decreased work productivity.
Both of these situations are a powerful stressor, which in turn accentuates the reflux symptoms. And the vicious circle never seems to end.
With more details, it has been noted that daytime sleepiness is more associated with GERD, even though all chronic symptoms play an important role in determining the disease.
Thats why we must clarify at best what these symptoms really are.
How To Relieve Acid Reflux And Anxiety
Having acid reflux doesnt mean you have anxiety. Likewise, anxiety wont necessarily cause or affect heartburn symptoms. However, if youre noticing symptoms of acid reflux, anxiety, or both, the first thing to do is to talk to your doctor. There are many ways to manage heartburn symptoms. You can also focus on eliminating trigger foods, or try an OTC treatment like Nexium 24 HR for heartburn relief for frequent heartburn that occurs more than two times a week. For occasional heartburn or intermittent heartburn you can turn to products like TUMS or Gaviscon.
If you have concerns about anxiety, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. They may be able to offer advice on how to reduce anxiety and manage any associated symptoms. In the meantime, just focus on taking care yourself. Try to alleviate stress by exercising, meditating, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest each night. And do things that make you happythat is always the most important part.
Would you like to learn more about acid reflux and heartburn? Learn about common heartburn myths with Nexium 24 HR.
1. Stress vs. Anxiety Knowing the Difference Is Critical to Your Health. Mental Health First Aid. . Accessed 5/13/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
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The Link Between Anxiety And Gerd
While anxiety is not listed as a cause of GERD, research published in 2013 showed the incidence of anxiety in women with GERD is higher than for those in the general population. Also, people with both GERD and anxiety may have more frequent symptoms and more severe symptoms, leading to a reduced quality of life.
Anxiety may play a role in the development of GERD and in worsening of symptoms, although researchers aren’t entirely clear how.
Some experts believe that the brain chemical cholecystokinin , which has been linked to both panic disorders and gastrointestinal disorders, may play a role in the prevalence of GERD in people with anxiety disorders. There are theories that anxiety can slow digestion, increase stomach acid, or result in increased muscle tension that can put pressure on the stomach.
Another possibility or contributing factor may be that when people are anxious they tend to engage in behaviors that may trigger or worsen acid reflux, like smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating fatty or fried foods. These can be soothing behaviors that can then lead to the pain and discomfort of heartburn.
The reverse may also be true as GERD symptoms, such as chest pain and trouble swallowing, can be worrisome and increase anxiety or trigger a panic attack. It’s important to remember that an association does not imply causation.
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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