Does Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux
Let us start out by saying that there is no absolute proof that anxiety does in fact cause acid reflux, yet, that said, there does seem to be somewhat of a correlation. Some really interesting studies show that people who suffer from acid reflux report that even when on medication, stress and anxiety seem to play a role in worsening the symptoms and perceived effects.
People with increased stress and anxiety, lower job satisfaction, and even depression seem to be more likely to suffer from acid reflux, or at least the worsening of the symptoms.
However, with all of that said, scientists have not found any actual empirical evidence that anxiety directly causes or worsens acid reflux symptoms. People with anxiety do report a worsening of symptoms, but the proof is not exactly solid.
When To See A Doctor
In some cases, the effects of both acid reflux and anxiety can be treated using home remedies.
Anyone who has chronic anxiety or acid reflux should talk to a doctor, however.
Other complications, such as scar tissue in the esophagus, Barretts esophagus and, in rare cases, oesophageal cancer, can cause long-term acid reflux.
Long-term anxiety may lead to an array of problems in physical and mental health.
Both GERD and anxiety symptoms can seem close to those of other conditions. And seeing a doctor for a diagnosis is recommended.
Acid Reflux Caused By Stress: Is That Really Possible
Given the close relationship between acid reflux and stress, its now the time to better understand what are the specific aspects that make it so important to work on both of these conditions.
First of all, several studies have shown that stress can produce altered gastrointestinal motility and symptoms.
In addition, it has also been noted that stress can exacerbate heartburn symptoms in GERD patients. This happens because stress is able to enhance the perceptual response to intra-esophageal acid exposure.
Moreover, another study found that higher levels of anxiety can induce an overall tendency toward the non-propulsive activity of the esophagus.
In other words, the swallowed food could remain in the esophagus for longer, thus simulating reflux.
According to other findings, stress may cause longer-lasting muscle tension.
This could increase the pressure levels inside the stomach, with the result of pushing the acid material upwards .
In some cases, however, the opposite is true.
When it comes to acid reflux and stress, anxiety and depression levels can be significantly higher in subjects with GERD than in healthy people.
This answers to another equally important question, namely if it may be possible that acid reflux causes stress .
In conclusion, we can say that acid reflux and stress have a double-direction relationship, then acting well on both of them will make life a lot better.
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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
Can Stress Cause Acid Reflux Physical Symptoms Of Stress
Medically Reviewed By: Debra Halseth, LCSW
Are you suffering from indigestion and heartburn? Have you been racking your brain trying to determine what you’re eating that’s causing such a problem for you? Have you been asking yourself “can stress cause acid reflux?” The unfortunate reality is that stress can cause a lot of symptoms that affect both your physical and mental health. Being aware of what they are can help you learn how to address them.
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Counseling And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One of the best ways to reduce stress and its psychological and physiological impact on the body involves learning effective management and coping techniques through counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy .
These therapies work to identify self-critical, distorted thought, or behavior patterns that cause negative emotions. They then assess which of these patterns might be connected to digestive symptoms and help you develop logic- and science-based strategies for reframing these emotions and physical responses.
How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
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Why Omeprazole Is Your Best Treatment Option For Acid Reflux
With moderate to severe cases of acid reflux, making simple lifestyle and dietary changes may not be enough to curb your symptoms. The good news? Prescription drug Omeprazole has been proven to be incredibly effective treatment, alleviating all symptoms!
Take control of your treatment by speaking with one of our online doctors today. They can help you discuss your best course of action, including prescription medication Omeprazole.
The best part? Omeprazole works the same as brand name acid reflux medicationsat a fraction of the cost! It works by reducing stomach acid, effectively preventing recurring episodes of acid reflux. Plus, most adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, can safely take Omeprazole.
Schedule a virtual doctors appointment, today.
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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Attention: Your Stress Can Trigger Heartburn And Acidity
Yes, you heard it right! You must have noticed that before or during stressful situations like attending an important meeting, an office presentation, interview or meeting someone special, you tend to experience acid reflux or heartburn which is commonly referred to as acidity.
Stress or anxiety once in a while does not pose much concern, but stress over a period of time can have deleterious effects on our bodies. And stress is directly correlated to acidity, implying the more stress you take the more you experience the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn. Its important to know how stress is related to acidity so that you can manage them both effectively.
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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Subjects And Study Design
We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study that included 27 906 subjects who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and completed a symptom questionnaire on the same day for routine health checkup at the Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System Gangnam Center between January 2008 and December 2011. A schematic protocol of the study design is illustrated in Figure 1. We excluded 932 subjects from the analysis based on the following criteria: a diagnosis of gastroesophageal carcinoma or active peptic ulcer based on upper gastrointestinal endoscopy findings, and a history of gastrectomy. In addition, we excluded the subjects with symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorder other than reflux from the control group, which could lead to bias in the results of the study. Eventually, 19 099 subjects were included in the study, and their clinical and endoscopic records were reviewed. The study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of Seoul National University Hospital . Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects before every procedure.
Does Stress Really Make Acid Reflux Worse
Often, we may experience acid reflux when we are stressed, so it might seem obvious that there is a connection, but is this really the case? Its true! Acid reflux and stress are connected. Although, the exact reason as to why is up for discussion. In one study, 45.6% of participants noted that stress was a contributing factor in their acid reflux, meanwhile, another, comprising over 19,000 participants, noted that anxiety was a common element in patients with GERD than in the control group.
But why is this? Scientists suspect a number of factors to be at fault. Stress naturally causes muscle tension and over time as anxiety builds this can lead to pressure on the stomach. In addition, anxiety may increase its acid levels causing them to flow backward into the esophagus, which is already under stress. Combined, these give that feeling of burning and discomfort that we know so well.
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What Is Heartburn Is Heartburn The Same As Acid Reflux
The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used so interchangeably that we wonder: is there a difference between heart and acid reflux at all? The answer is kind of. While heartburn and acid reflux are connected, they are not quite the same thing.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. It is usually one of the key signs that a person is experiencing acid reflux and may be accompanied by some of the symptoms listed above.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
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The Relationship Between Acid Reflux And Stress
As a direct consequence, a person who suffers from reflux and stress can experience a significant improvement in his/her quality of life by simply taking care of stress alone.
In fact, he/she will raise his/her threshold of perception of such stimuli: this will give the sensation that also many reflux-related symptoms will disappear.
Things can get complicated when other typical symptoms of stress also occur:
The other interesting option to consider is a complete kit to get rid of any additional conditions that make acid reflux harder to control.
Stress certainly is one of such factors, thats why we want to recommend this specific program as the #2 option to consider.
There are then many other possible fixes for stress and many other psychological troubles that can make acid reflux more felt and concerning.
Well post specific updates soon about all of them.
In the meantime, our warm suggestion is to remove stressors first and, if this is not possible at this time, at least to start with one of the above programs because they also consider stress as a powerful factor that makes reflux worse and more serious over time.
Clinical And Laboratory Evaluations
All subjects completed a structured, self-administered questionnaire about basic demographic characteristics, general health and lifestyle, medical history, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Height and body weight were measured using a digital scale. The body mass index was calculated as weight /height2 . Based on smoking status, subjects were categorized as current smoker or non-current smoker . Based on alcohol consumption, subjects were categorized as alcohol user or non-user . Laboratory evaluation was performed on the same day, including serum Helicobacter pylori -EIA-Well kit Radim, Rome, Italy), for determining the presence of H. pylori infection.
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Medication For Gerd And Anxiety
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:
- 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.
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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Stress And Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is something that many people experience. Heartburn can be a result of eating the wrong thing, but research has been done that shows acid reflux is “significantly associated with high stress.”
However, scientists have differing opinions on what causes the problem. Some believe that your body creates more stomach acid under stress and others believe that your body just becomes more sensitive to it during stressful situations. One Healthline article explains that, “Stress can also deplete the production of substances called prostaglandins, which normally protect the stomach from the effects of acid. This could increase your perception of discomfort.”
But chances are, if you’re experiencing acid reflux from stress, you don’t really care if it’s happening because you have more acid or are more sensitive to it. You just want it to stop. Learning how to reduce your stress or cope with it in a healthy way is one of the best ways to address stress and acid reflux. But, it’s also helpful to identify what foods trigger your heartburn. Stress may make acid reflux worse but avoiding the foods that contribute to it is also effective in helping to reduce your symptoms.
Keeping a food diary or food journal is a way to spot any patterns. You can track the food that you’re eating along with your stress levels each day. This can help you see both of causes of stress and food triggers of your acid reflux.
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