Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Is Acid Reflux Caused By Stress

The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux Include:

Can anxiety cause acid reflux symptoms?
  • A burning sensation in the chest or throat after eating
  • A hot sour or salty tasting fluid in the back of your throat, accompanied by difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling sick
  • Eating too quickly
  • Fatty meats and dairy products
  • Alcohol, caffeinated drinks and spicy food, which can all cause the lower oesophageal sphincter to open.

Being overweight means theres an increased pressure on your stomach, forcing open your oesophageal sphincter valve after eating.

But a large contributor? Stress, which can make symptoms worse. Thats because stress depletes our supply of prostaglandins, which protect our stomachs from acid. Try to get at least eight hours of restful sleep a night and cut out stressors from your life where possible.

How Can Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux

Thus far, weve shown that individuals with acid are more likely to have anxiety, too. But how can anxiety cause acid reflex?

To that end, the science isnt entirely clear. What we do know is that multiple studies, including those above, have shown that higher levels of stress can lead to or increase symptoms of GERD. This includes acid reflux. At the same time, stress can also lead to higher levels of anxiety. This can lead to more stress, which may make heartburn worse.

Additionally, some studies suggest that anxiety may have an impact on your perception of pain. The more anxious you are, the more you feel painful stimuli including the burning sensation caused by acid reflux. While this isnt a cause-and-effect, it may be why some individuals with anxiety report worse GERD symptoms. However, further research on the topic is needed.

Furthermore, there is some limited evidence that anxiety and other mental disorders may affect your digestive process. This includes the lower esophageal sphincter a band of muscle just above your stomach. Your esophageal sphincter is responsible for the opening to let food into your stomach and closing to keep acid from coming out. When this fails, acid reflux can occur. Thus, if there is a link between anxiety and a weak esophageal sphincter, this may be the missing cause-and-effect. However, once again, more research is needed before scientists fully understand the link.

Treatment Options For Heartburn From Anxiety

Traditional heartburn treatments only have a moderate effect on anxiety heartburn. Eating smaller meals, taking antacids, and eating foods that do not contribute to heartburn are a good place to start. But they’re only going to do half the job, as many people that experience heartburn from anxiety fail to get complete relief when they utilize these treatments alone.

Some of those with anxiety claim to get relief from jogging and other forms of exercise. However, it should be noted that in general, exercise actually makes acid reflux temporarily worse. In the long term, though, it helps a lot with heartburn. While these options may prove helpful, there is one thing that should be considered first by people looking to get rid of their heartburn anxiety: address the root of the problem by treating your underlying anxiety!


Anxiety can trigger heartburn in several ways, from muscle tension to digestion changes to hormone alterations. It can also be a trigger for anxiety, especially in those with hypersensitivity as a result of panic attacks or health fears. Heartburn can often be treated with dietary changes and over-the-counter medications, although anxiety will need to be treated concurrently to keep the symptoms away.

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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.

So Can Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux

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Yes, there are numerousstudiesconcluding that stress and anxiety can indeed cause acid reflux.

These are the most important factors that trigger heartburn and acid reflux while under stress:

  • Poor digestion might lead to gas buildup in the stomach.
  • Muscle tension, just like gas, might also increase stomach pressure.
  • Relaxed LES, combined with an increased stomach pressure it becomes easier for digestive juices to enter the esophagus.
  • Hypervigilance, a condition when one has exaggerated reactions to certain stimuli. In our case, this could mean that even mild heartburn might feel like severe chest pain.

Also Check: What To Do When You Get Stressed

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.

Can Stress Lead To Heartburn Indigestionwhether You Are Old Or Young Many People Feel The Effects Of Stress

Whilst a small amount of stress can be good and help to push you to do something, life in this day and age can be too stressful for some.

It can be a result of all sorts of day-to-day events or issues that you are faced with – anything from problems or arguments with good friends, financial worries, having too many things to do or feeling under pressure to perform well at work.

In your mind, stress may cause you to feel worried, anxious or irritable as well as leading to mental health problems which can get in the way of everyday life. It is also linked to insomnia which can become a vicious cycle as one will affect the other and vice versa if you dont sleep well, you may feel stressed and if youre stressed, you may struggle to sleep properly.

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Does Stress Really Make It Worse

Its still debatable whether or not stress actually increases the production of stomach acid or physically creates a worsening in acid. Currently, many scientists believe that when youre stressed, you become more sensitive to smaller amounts of acid in the esophagus.

In 1993, researchers published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that people with acid reflux who were anxious and stressed reported having more painful symptoms related to acid reflux, but no one showed an increase in gastric acid. In other words, though people consistently reported feeling more discomfort, the scientists didnt find any increase in total acid produced.

Another study from 2008 added further support to this idea. When researchers exposed people with GERD to a stressful noise, they also found that it increased their symptoms by making them more sensitive to acid exposure.

Does Stress Really Worsen Gerd

Acid Reflux And Stress Relief With Denver Acupuncture

Science reveals a direct connection between stress and acid reflux. When you read those words, you would probably think, Oh thats certainly true. My acid reflux gets a lot worse when I am stressed out because my stomach is producing extra acid. You couldnt be more wrong!

Heres the truth Stomach acid production GOES down with stress). Sounds unbelievable? Well, its not. While the stomach produces lesser concentrated acid during periods of chronic stress, its also true that your acid reflux worsens during a stressful situation. So, why is that?

The human body is thousands of years old. And sadly, the design hasnt upgraded at all in all these years. Centuries ago, the only stress primitive man faced was being attacked by a predator. Today the scenario is much different. You can be stressed by a looming deadline or a boss who dislikes you, the fear of being unable to repay your mortgage on time, or be under emotional stress from a complicated relationship. In todays world, our stress is no longer fleeting . However, since the design of the human body hasnt adapted to our current stressful lifestyle yet, any stressful situation still puts us in a Fight or Flight mode.

During periods of stress, the body diverts the blood away to three major regions:

  • The Legs for Flight,
  • The Hands for Fight, and
  • The Brain for Quick Thinking on the feet to avert an attack

Read Also: What To Take To Reduce Stress

Which Types Of Doctors Treat Indigestion

You might first see your primary care doctor who will diagnose your indigestion. You may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

If you have a problem that requires surgery such as a severe ulcer or gallstones you may be referred to a general surgeon.

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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.

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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:

  • 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.

Is Your Job Giving You Heartburn

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Houston ranks among Americas most stressful cities. Endless working hours and long daily commutes are major contributors to stress Houstonians are paying a huge price with their health. Chronically stressed people are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. But does stress cause acid reflux disease?

Many patients report stress as a trigger for heartburn. More than half of the patients that report to Houston Heartburn & Reflux Center attribute recurrent heartburn to a hectic lifestyle. The reality is that stress in and by itself does not cause acid reflux. The lower esophageal sphincter is a ring of muscles acting as a barrier against acid reflux. Stress does not affect the competency of the lower esophageal sphincter hence, stress does not cause reflux. However, chronic stress can exacerbate the intensity and duration of an already existing acid reflux problem. Indeed, stress increases stomach acid production, as well as the sensitivity of the esophagus to pain. As a result, acid reflux, if already present, is felt more intensely with stress.

At Houston Heartburn & Reflux Center, we comprehensively target the causes of acid reflux rather than the symptoms. If stress is contributing to your acid reflux disease, we have solutions for you.

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How To Help Anxiety Stress Depression Etc For Lpr

For me personally one of the things that really helped me was reading this book called How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. This book is excellent at teaching you effective ways to stop worrying which for me was one of my main problems. I could be worrying and anxious about a host of different things it could be my health at the time or it could be me attending an interview for a job.

The important thing to mention was that me worrying caused me to be more nervous and anxious which undoubtedly negatively effected my digestion and in turn worsened my LPR symptoms and even brought them on in the first place. The advice in the book really helped me with properly tackling my mentality and attitude when getting anxious or stressed about something.

One of the important things I learnt was to think more logically about things. When I say this, I mean for example if you have a health problem in this case LPR I would think about whats causing and what you can do to make it better. Then I would make a step by step plan to make it better and write it down on paper to help emphasize it in your brain. Another thing to think of logically is to not get stressed over silly things like attending an interview. Before when I attended a job interview I would get very nervous but now I think about it more logically and I say to myself why I am getting anxious I am simply just talking to other people there is nothing to be anxious about!

How Stress Affects Heartburn

While 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, it does seem safe to assume that if you deal with heartburn on occasion, you may find it triggered by stressful situations.

Here are some of the reasons researchers have found that stress-related heartburn occurs:

  • The link between the brain and the digestive system can cause changes in either direction. Stress can cause digestive changes, and digestive changes can cause stress reactions in the brain and body.
  • Stress slows down digestion. Ever notice that you may lose your appetite when stressed out? Thats your body slowing down the digestion process, keeping food in your stomach longerand giving stomach acids more time to cause stress-related heartburn.
  • Stress amplifies pain by making you more sensitive to it. Your heartburn may not be stronger during stress, just more noticeable.

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Is Acid Reflux Caused By Stress

Stress can worsen acid reflux symptoms, and anxiety is a natural response to stress in the body paradoxically, experiencing anxiety can also in itself be stressful, which can continue the cycle. Is acid reflux caused by stress. First of all, it is important to make it clear, that stress does not cause acid reflux or gerd acid reflux is a term used to describe stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus the condition is a functional problem relating to a valve located in your esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter .

How Is Acid Reflux Diagnosed

Emotional Stress: Acid Reflux

Your doctor or pharmacist can usually make a diagnosis of acid reflux based on your symptoms. They may recommend over-the counter treatments . If these help, it usually confirms the diagnosis.

If your symptoms are severe or arent settling, or if your doctor is otherwise concerned, they may refer you for tests.

Gastroscopy is the most common test to look at your stomach and see if there are any problems. This procedure takes about 15 minutes and should not be painful . Your throat will be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray. You can also choose to have a sedative, if you prefer general anaesthetic is not needed.

The endoscopist passes a thin, flexible telescope through your throat, down your oesophagus into your stomach. They will look for inflammation of the oesophagus lining and any other abnormality . If necessary, they can take biopsies or check the acidity level in your oesophagus.

Barium swallow/barium meal is less commonly used. Heartburn and Acid reflux can be a symptom of Achalasia. Achalasia is a rare disorder of the food pipe , which can make it difficult to swallow food and drink. For the Barium Swallow, you drink a liquid containing barium, which shows up on X-ray as it passes through your oesophagus, your stomach and the first part of your small bowel. This shows up hiatus hernias and narrowing of the oesophagus.

Chest X-ray or a heart tracing may be recommended if your doctor wants to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Read Also: How To Deal With Stress At Home

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