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Why Does Stress Cause Heartburn

Medication For Gerd And Anxiety

Natural Heartburn Relief – Why and How Does Stress Cause Heartburn?

Reducing anxiety through drugs is not an option.

Nowadays, theres an excessive prescription of drugs for psychological conditions, and thats why many people are becoming dependent on them, without little to zero improvements.

If you have anxiety and heartburn the first things to do could be:

  • Exercise
  • Relaxation
  • Taking remedies

Whatever the reason for your anxiety, you have to work on root causes, not symptoms, because they will return after the temporary relief.

Moreover, it has been proved that drugs commonly used to treat GERD are less effective for people who also have anxiety.

We dont want to write a list of prescription medication, not even chemical drugs, that may be suggested for people who are dealing with acid reflux and anxiety.

On the contrary, we suggest treating both of these conditions with a more comprehensive, strategic approach.

Thats why we strongly recommend checking the resources we list in the final paragraph, What To Do Next.

You can find ideas, programs to follows, and valuable, updated information on how to get rid of reflux as a whole.

But you need to start from some pillars.

They are eating habits and a healthier lifestyle.

Only to make some examples, you should:

  • Try some relaxation techniques, like yoga, meditation, and similar
  • Eat foods that are known to protect from heartburn and reflux
  • Be consistent, all days

A thing worth noting is that each of the programs you find below is also focusing attention on anxiety, and stress.

When Should I Call My Doctor About My Heartburn

Even though heartburn is common, it can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. Severe, chronic heartburn has been linked to inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough, GERD, and Barretts esophagus, which may lead to esophageal cancer.

You should contact your doctor if:

  • Your heartburn wont go away.
  • Your heartburn symptoms become more severe or frequent.
  • Its hard or hurts to swallow.
  • Your heartburn causes you to vomit.
  • You have had substantial, unexpected weight loss.
  • You take over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks and you still have heartburn symptoms.
  • You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription medicines.
  • You have serious hoarseness or wheezing.
  • Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities.

The Effect Of Stress On Esophageal Motility

During real stress, contractile front velocity of esophageal peristaltic contractions was significantly decreased , and distal latency of esophageal peristaltic contractions was significantly increased , compared with the baseline period. Those alterations were not observed during sham stress. The percentages of weak, failed, hyper-contractile, rapid, and premature contractions were not significantly altered during real stress and sham stress, compared with those measured in the baseline period. No significant changes in the mean LES resting pressure and distal contractile integral of esophageal contractions were observed during real stress and sham stress, compared with those measured in the baseline period .

Read Also: How To Tell If I Have Heartburn

Lpr & Anxiety Correlated

When I think back to when I myself first started having the symptoms of LPR I was highly stressed and generally speaking I was quite a nervous person who had anxiety. Of course, if you have a host of LPR symptoms anxiety could be the cause of it and the LPR and general bad health could make your anxiety worse just by simply worrying about your health like happened to me initially.

When I first had problems with my throat I wasnt aware I had LPR though further down the road I figured out that was what was affecting me. Once I got to that stage I did all of the best proven LPR treatment and it definitely helped me.

Though I feel my mindset change and addressing my anxiety, stress etc. was an extremely important element for me to go that extra step. Not only for me personally as someone who had nervous tendencies and anxiety, but for a lot of others who suffer from LPR also have these tendencies.

I have read a lot of posts from people suffering from LPR everyday and its clear to me there seems to be a relation between stress, anxiety and depression with LPR. Of course, this could be how the person was before they developed LPR or this could be because of the havoc that LPR can cause to someone which can amplify these problems.

Dont just take my word for it, there was a study done to see if there is any relationship between LPR and depression. The result of this study showed a significant association between the depression and LPR. You can check this study here.

The Importance Of Sleep Quality

Can Stress Cause Heartburn?

As you adjust your lifestyle to treat anxiety and GERD, it may be helpful to focus on your sleep quality and length. Research has found an association between anxiety, GERD, and poor sleep quality.

We do not know the exact relationship between these, but it has been theorized that improving sleep quality could also improve GERD and anxiety symptoms.

Discuss your sleep patterns with your healthcare provider or therapist. They may recommend a supplement like melatonin or changes like using blackout blinds, removing electronics from your bedroom, and more.

Read Also: Best Way To Cure Heartburn

How Can You Take Control

If you think stress could be contributing to your heartburn, taking control and better managing your stress is likely to be a useful first step in tackling your issues.

Our advice is: dont suffer in silence. It is important to actively try and manage your stress levels, especially if you think it may be having effects on other areas of your body. Your stomach and digestive system are important and have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing so you need to support them.

An Introduction To Heartburn And Stress

Hydrochloric acid is the main constituent of stomach acid and is an essential component for digestion. Some specific roles of hydrochloric acid include:

  • The breakdown of protein
  • The effective absorption of vitamins and minerals from your food including vitamin B12, iron, calcium and magnesium
  • Keeping bad bacteria under control throughout the digestive tract
  • Initiating the release of digestive enzymes further along the digestive system.

Your stomach acid is a strong acid with a pH in the region of between 1 and 3. In order to protect itself, the lining of your stomach has a protective mucous layer which acts as a barrier against the strongly acidic environment.

However, your oesophagus isnt so fortunate so, if acid travels backwards, through the lower oesophageal sphincter the circular muscle joining the oesophagus and the stomach and makes contact with the oesophagus, you feel it. Literally! This is known as acid reflux and the burning sensation under your ribs we associate with this is called heartburn.

But you may be surprised to know that stress can make this pattern of events more likely, why?

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Water Brash And Anxiety

A possible distinction between heartburn and anxiety is the presence of a bitter or sour taste.

This feeling in the mouth may help to figure out if your heartburn is due to reflux or not .

Water brash is a typical symptom of acid reflux when it affects the upper tract of the digestive system.

Its defined as a mix between the acid and the excess saliva: in these cases, theres a feeling of bitter/sour taste that people who suffer from heartburn learn to describe very easily.

The heartburn caused by anxiety alone does not present this specific sensation, thats why you should pay attention to that.

How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn

How Stress Affects Heartburn

Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:

  • Tums®.
  • Maalox®.
  • Gaviscon®.

Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.

Recommended Reading: Does Red Wine Cause Heartburn

Acid Reflux And Stress: A Decisive Connection

When youre dealing with both of these conditions, you must take care of your stress before changing your eating habits and adopt a proper lifestyle.

This is the basic rule to remember.

It is an established fact today that acid reflux from stress is more frequent and serious than it might seem.

This does not mean that you cant get rid of symptoms, however, you have to work on both conditions with consistency.

Some people report symptoms of acid reflux at particular times, such as university exams or job interviews: more in general, they feel symptoms under particularly stressful conditions.

This is not what were going to consider, however, it gives you a better idea of what happens. People who are under stress feel heartburn, and this may happen with frequency, meaning a more serious condition.

There are several studies that confirmed this relationship: more precisely, there is a specific link between stressful psychosocial factors, including job strain, and GERD symptoms.

Very interesting to note that the above-mentioned study talks about GERD: this means that, if left untreated , things can get worse quickly.

One more time, we want to stress about the importance of working on this factor before your treatment for reflux, otherwise, you wont have any success.

Can Lpr Be Brought On By Stress

Just like with anxiety stress creates pressure and problems for the whole body especially if the stress lasts for a longer period of time. Anytime you have felt stress or some form of pressure you often sense the body starting to feel worse. One thing in relation to this is how the stomach feels. While not everyone has this sensation but for some people when they get really stressed they can sometimes feel the stomach feeling woozy or nauseous. In that situation you have actual evidence that something is happening in the stomach that is directly making the stomach feel unusual. Even without doctor advice or evidence we already know ourselves something is not quite right.

This correlation and understanding also matches up to quite a few studies that have been done where people with different forms of acid reflux are studied and they compared how acid reflux or relatable symptoms are made worse from stress, and if there is any correlation between the two.

For example there was a study completed in Korea where people where tested and the association between reflux esophagitis and stress where compared.

The conclusion of this study showed that people with this form of acid reflux had increased severity of the acid reflux when the stress was higher. It showed a correlation when someone became more stressed that their reflux become worse. You can check out this study here for all the details.

Also Check: Why Do I Get Heartburn A Lot

Why Does Stress Cause Problems In The Digestive System

Theres increasing evidence showing that theres an important relationship between the brain and the digestive system. This is sometimes called the brain-gut or gut-brain axis.

Communication between the two can affect activity in the brain and in the digestive system. This is why stress can cause symptoms in the stomach and the gut, and why the reverse is also true having digestive problems can make us feel very stressed and anxious.

When were in a stressful situation, our bodies tend to have a fight or flight reaction. Hormones are released which prepare us to act, by keeping us alert and energised.

The theory is that when these stress hormones are released, digestion slows down or even stops altogether so that the body can divert its energy to managing the perceived threat. This slowing down of the digestive process causes the symptoms of bloating, constipation, and pain.

We also know that in some people, stress can cause the opposite problem, speeding up the digestive process and causing diarrhoea.

Things That Aggravate And Calm Acid Reflux

Pin on Acid Reflux Home Remedies

03-19-20 – GI Articles

If youve ever experienced a burning sensation in your chest or throat, youre not alone. Heartburn is one of the main symptoms of a condition known as acid reflux, which affects roughly 60 million people in the US at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. Acid reflux occurs when digestive stomach acids back up into your esophagus, causing discomfort. You can prevent acid reflux from occurring by knowing what aggravates it, such as certain types of foods, activities and situations.


Some types of foods cause heartburn, mainly due to a high acidic content. Foods to limit or avoid when you have acid reflux include:

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits
  • Tomatoes
  • High-fat foods, such as nuts, cheese, meat and avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Foods and beverages with caffeine, such as coffee and soda

Keep in mind that eating big meals or lying down right after eating can also lead to acid reflux, especially if youve eaten acidic or fatty foods. Eating too close to bedtime, even if its just a small snack, can also trigger this condition.

Even if you take medication to control acid reflux, the above foods contain acid and may exacerbate your symptoms.


Smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of having acid reflux. The nicotine in these products can cause the muscles in your esophagus to relax, making it easier for stomach acids to get through. Cigarettes can also cause your stomach to produce more acid.


Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Heartburn Before Bed

Bacterial Overgrowth Can Stress Every Cell In Your Body

Whether it is low stomach acid, too many starchy foods that feed bacteria, or a combination of these factors, once bacteria have the opportunity, they will multiply as quickly as possible.

As bacteria begin to colonize the small intestine, they produce gas. This gas can affect your digestion in a number of ways, ranging from cramping and belching to constipation.

Unfortunately, all this activity also can inflame the tissue lining the intestinal wall.

Under the right circumstances, inflammation protects the body against infection. When inflammation is chronic, or ongoing, it can lead to tissue damage. In order to control tissue damage, the body releases cortisol. If an inflammatory trigger persists, the body continues to release cortisol.


  • Dampens, or weakens the immune response system
  • Controls inflammation

The stress response is so important that every nucleated cell in the body has receptors for cortisol. The nucleus stores genetic information. Every cell that is in charge of its own reproduction is able to receive and respond to cortisol.

This means that when tissue lining the intestinal tract becomes inflamed from bacterial overgrowth, it is not just the intestinal tract that picks up on stress hormones. Practically every cell in the body is reading the stress response, including the mind.

Comparison Of Stress Levels In The Reflux Esophagitis Peptic Ulcer Disease And Control Groups

The stress level of the reflux esophagitis group was compared with that of the PUD group and controls. Subjects with reflux esophagitis had significantly higher BEPSI-K scores compared with controls . BEPSI-K scores were also higher in the reflux esophagitis group than in the PUD group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance . There was no significant difference in BEPSI-K score between the PUD group and controls .

Comparison of stress levels or fatigue severity score among the reflux esophagitis group, peptic ulcer disease group, and controls group. *, comparison between reflux esophagitis versus controls **, comparison between reflux esophagitis versus peptic ulcer disease. BEPSI-K score was significantly higher in reflux esophagitis group

The mean BEPSI-K score in LA-C reflux esophagitis patients was 2.05 ± 0.96, that in LA-B was 1.78 ± 0.70, and that in LA-A was 1.74 ± 0.66. The severity of reflux esophagitis was positively correlated with BEPSI-K score in correlation analysis . The proportion of subjects with high BEPSI-K scores was greater in the reflux esophagitis group compared with the control group .

Comparison of BEPSI-K according to severity of reflux esophagitis. The severity of reflux esophagitis was positively correlated with BEPSI-K score

Read Also: Best Thing For Instant Heartburn Relief

How Is Heartburn Treated

In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.

Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.

How To Deal With Anxiety And Heartburn

Can Stress Cause Heartburn? | Gaviscon®
  • Heartburn, and GERD , have several links with anxiety.
  • Some people already have GERD that gets worse when they have anxiety.
  • Symptoms of GERD can also trigger further anxiety, especially in those with panic attacks.
  • There are at least 4 links between anxiety and heartburn.
  • Treating heartburn independently can be effective, although anxiety treatment should still be prioritized.

Recommended Reading: Over The Counter Heartburn Medicine For Pregnancy


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