How To Deal With Anxiety And Heartburn
- 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.
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.
Gaviscon A Different Kind Of Acid Reflux Treatment
Although hes not a senior, my son swears by Gaviscon.
This product creates a protective barrier between the top of your stomach and your esophagus .
This barrier prevents stomach acid from splashing back up into your esophagus, essentially performing the function of your Lower Esophageal Sphincter . Blocking acid reflux, in turn, prevents the painful sensation of heartburn.
The foam is activated when it comes into contact with stomach acid.
The Alginic acid in Gaviscon® tablets is derived from extract of brown seaweed. The raw material source is 100% natural, non-toxic and safe for human consumption. .
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Dog Acid Reflux Diet Tips
A balanced diet is the most important factor in improving your pets overall health and preventing dog acid reflux. Diets rich in allergens, preservatives, oily, or spicy foods can irritate a dogs stomach and should be avoided. Its also important to avoid excessive table scraps as a treat or feeding human food that is unhealthy for them, as this may irritate a dogs stomach further.
Late-night feedings should be avoided in dogs that are prone to acid reflux. At night, the esophageal sphincter relaxes during sleep which makes a dog more prone to vomiting in the morning if theyve eaten close to bedtime.
Smaller, more frequent meals can also help to prevent a dog from vomiting bile, which usually happens on an empty stomach. Larger meals can place too much pressure on the system, so feeding your dog multiple times a day may help to prevent acid reflux.
Having your dog on a consistent, feeding schedule is also important for avoiding fluctuating levels of food in the stomach. Keep your dog on a consistent, frequent meal schedule will help reduce pressure on their gastrointestinal system and decrease the risk of acid reflux.
If your dog is prone to acid reflux, softer dog foods are a good alternative. Soft foods decrease how much work their digestive enzymes must do to digest their food. This is an amazing benefit for any dog with a weakened digestive system. Check out our softer, nutritious alternatives to hard kibble here.
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.
Read Also: When Stress Is Too Much
Family Problems Can Cause Acid Reflux From Stress
This includes problems with your hubby, rebellious children, or siblings. A lack of communication between spouses often causes stress. Other stress triggers include unfulfilled expectations, differing views on gender roles, an inequality between sharing responsibilities. Infidelity, job-related travel and money are also big stressors.
What Causes Acid Reflux
One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.
These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
- Being overweight or obese
- Being pregnant
- Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications
Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux disease and may be described as a burning pain under the middle of the chest. It occurs after meals and usually becomes worse when you lie down, bend over or during physical exertion.
Chronic heartburn is not a diagnostic symptom as it may be caused by other conditions, especially a stomach ulcer. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, and an infection by a species of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori can also cause heartburn.
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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.
Doggy Acid Reflux: Causes Treatments And Foods To Avoid
Did you know your dog can have acid reflux? Like humans, dogs are also susceptible to indigestion and other stomach problems that result in acid reflux. If youve ever had acid reflux before, you know that it can be uncomfortable, painful, and even result in vomiting.
Lets discuss what dog acid reflux looks like, how its treated, and lifestyle changes that may help your dog avoid this uncomfortable affliction.
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Psychiatric Disorders And Pain Perception
Vic Velanovich, MD, a gastrointestinal surgeon and one of the studys co-authors, says this is not an isolated phenomenon. Its 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. So anything happening in the frontal cortex, including mental disorders, makes pain perception worse.
Velanovich has been exploring the effects of the pain-modulation network for some time. In 2001, he published a study examining whether psychiatric disorders affected patient satisfaction with GERD-correcting surgery. He found that surgery satisfied 93.5 percent of patients without psychiatric disorders, and just 11.1 percent of patients with them.
It was a classic nocebo effect, Velanovich says. For both groups of patients the GERD pain was greatly relieved. But only anxious patients found the aftereffects of the surgery intolerable. Which tells me that theres something else going on.
He also suggests that some of the onus lies with primary care physicians, who he says should be careful to observe any psychiatric issues that occur alongside GERD symptoms.
Coping Strategies To Manage Stress:
1. Incorporate Exercise to your routine
Exercise releases a natural feel-good hormone that in turn makes you feel relaxed and most importantly helps you forget your stressors to some extent.
2. Stay away from trigger foods
For a few people, chocolate may trigger acidity and for others coffee or spicy and oily food. Know your trigger foods that trigger your acidity symptoms and avoid consuming them.
3. Get enough sleep
Stress and sleep are interrelated, if you dont get enough sleep, stress hormones get released thus resulting in stress the next day. So, getting enough sleep must be your first priority as inadequate sleep also aggravates your symptoms.
4. Relaxation techniques
Try relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi and meditation.
Also Check: How To Relax Your Mind From Stress
Some General Posture Pointers
To attain the neutral spine position, Markowski advises you to put your shoulders down and back, pull your head back, and engage your core muscles. “Bring your belly button in toward your spine, as if you’re zipping up a snug pair of jeans. This will help to engage the transverse abdominis muscle, which acts like a corset around the spine,” Markowski explains.
Other tips: Use a low back support pillow to remind you to sit upright in a chair, and change your position every 30 to 60 minutes. “We don’t want people in fixed postures for hours at a time,” Markowski says. “Be vigilant, and good posture will contribute to many aspects of health.”
Linking Stress And Heartburn
What goes on in your brain affects what goes on in your stomach. Just thinking about tasty food can get your stomach juices flowing. A stressful situation can trigger your brain into a stress response. Here’s how it works:
The stress response is what gets you to move away from danger. The last thing you need to worry about at these times is eating. So, during stress, your body produces hormones that slow down digestion. Food stays in your stomach longer. That means stomach acids have more time to move up into your esophagus.
The stress response may make you more sensitive to . Studies have shown that stress does not increase the acidity of your stomach juices. But, when these juices back up into your esophagus, you may be more sensitive to them. You may sense pain more easily when you’re stressed.
The links between stress and heartburn work both ways. The brain and the digestive system are so closely tied that can trigger the stress response. Stress can make heartburn worse. Heartburn can make stress worse. That can turn into a vicious cycle.
Recommended Reading: How To Keep Mind Calm And Stress Free
Some Medications Can Worsen Your Heartburn
According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma, which I learned six years ago that I have, often occurs together with acid reflux. Whod have thought? In fact, each can worsen the other!
If you have this uncomfortable combo, ask your doctor to confirm that your asthma medication isnt making your acid reflux worse.
Canada Drug Guide, which is funded by Health Canada lists the following medications as possible contributors to acid reflux:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Pain medications such as ibuprofen
- Products with iron content
- Antibiotics called tetracyclines.
Talk to your your doctor about your acid reflux and how to manage your discomfort while still using the meds you need.
Can Stress Trigger Heartburn And Acid Reflux
There is an increasing number of patients reporting heartburn and acid reflux in recent times. You will be surprised to know that the majority of them suffer from chronic anxiety and stress which causes severe acid reflux and heartburn. We at A.J. Hospital, Mangalore have come across multiple cases of acute anxiety attacks and chronic stress which have led to GERD and even heart attacks.
The onset of pandemic and WFH are the main contributors to the stress. Not only are people managing their work from home but also finishing the household chores. Pre-pandemic it was easier to assign tasks of work, home, and household chores between different family members and house help. This balance has also gone for a toss since all the family members are forced to stay indoors. Mood and individual problems or illness of any family member are bound to affect and cause more stress.
What is acid reflux or acidity and heartburn?The stomach produces acid for the digestion of food. Food goes from mouth to stomach, passing through the esophagus. There is a valve between the stomach and esophagus which allows the food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach and does not let the acid go from the stomach to the esophagus. In case, the valve closes partially or remains open, the acid goes from the stomach to the esophagus. This is called acidity which causes discomfort in the chest, also called heartburn.
Here are some more ways to manage your stress:
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Posture Chronic Stress And Acid Reflux
It may seem like an odd or unimportant thing to point out, but often when we are under tremendous amounts of stress for long periods of time, our posture typically suffers. We are literally weighed down by the burden of our own problems.
The stomach and intestines need room to work properly.
Imagine keeping your foot all curled up in a shoe thats too small for an entire day. You would probably be in some pain, wouldnt you? And you do the same thing to your stomach and digestive system when youre stressed and remain hunched over all day.
Poor posture can be caused by many other things, not just stress.
We rarely sit up straight when were in front of a computer all day, or when driving. We learn very poor posture in school when were hunched over our desks. Sadly, proper posture is not given much attention.
But keeping your midsection hunched over, whether because of stress or just poor posture, contributes to acid reflux, heartburn, and other digestive disorders.
Pay attention to your posture throughout the day and make a point of working on it. Sit up straight and breathe deeply. See if you dont notice that you begin to feel better and if this doesnt relieve some tension in your stomach area as well.
Easy Steps To Manage Acid Reflux And Stress
Changing your eating habits to adopt a balanced diet is the right way to help heal your gut. Since stress and acid reflux are closely linked, its also worth trying coping techniques to manage stress levels in your life to help reduce your risk of conditions like IBS, GERD, heart diseases and depression.
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Causes Of Acid Reflux
When food enters the stomach, there is a valve at the end of the esophagus that should close upon its arrival. If that valve malfunctions, it allows acid to flow back up into your mouth and throat. Thats what causes the sour taste in your mouth when you experience acid reflux.
Some factors that could lead to the problems with the valve closing properly include:
- Having too much pressure placed on the abdomen
- Eating specific types of food
- Your general eating habits