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Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux

Reflux And Stress Anxiety Depression

Can anxiety cause acid reflux symptoms?

It seems quite likely that experiencing chest pain and other symptoms after eating can increase our stress level. According to a study from 2018:

This cross-sectional study revealed that anxiety and depression levels were significantly higher in subjects with GERD than in controls.

  • GERD: gastroesophageal reflux disease, the chronic form of acid reflux
  • NERD: non-erosive reflux disease, same as GERD, but the esophagus is not damaged

Looks like stress can cause reflux, which might cause more stress and so on

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.

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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Evaluation Of The State Of Anxiety And Depression

The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scale was used to assess the level of anxiety in all subjects.20 The STAI is a well-known psychological instrument comprising 2 self-report rating scales with 20 items each, for the measurement of 2 types of anxiety: state anxiety and trait anxiety . Each item is rated between 1 and 4 depending on the frequency of target complaints , and overall scores are obtained by summing the ratings for the items . We considered subjects showing moderate-to-severe state or trait anxiety by using a cut-off value of STAI-X1 57 or STAI-X2 59, respectively.

The depression status of subjects was evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory scale, one of the most commonly used self-report instruments designed to detect and measure the severity of depression in the general population.21 The BDI comprises of 21 items describing symptoms and attitudes to depression, and each item is rated between 0 and 3 in terms of intensity. The total score ranges between 0 and 63the higher the score, the greater the degree of depression. By using the cutoff value of 15, subjects were classified as having no-to-mild depression or moderate-to-severe depression .22

The Importance Of Sleep Quality

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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.

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Anxiety & Depression Worsen Quality Of Life Of Gerd Patients

GERD patients with depression and/or anxiety tend to experience greater symptoms and lower quality of life despite having similar reflux parameters as other GERD patients who do not have mental health issues.

Anxiety in these patients is associated with increased heartburn and chest pain

Patients with Non-erosive reflux disorder tend to experience mental health symptoms more than other subtypes of GERD.

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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What Does A Stress

Just as everyone experiences stress differently, they may experience the stomach discomfort it causes differently.

People with stress- or anxiety-related stomach pain most often complain of a knotted feeling, cramping, churning, bloating, indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea.

Broadly speaking, stress increases the movement and fluid secretion of your gut, which can leave you feeling like your stomach is either unusually blocked or extra active.

While acute or chronic stress has the potential to exacerbate the symptoms of any digestive condition, there are a number of specific stomach complaints that have been linked to stress, each with its own symptoms.

How To Relieve Stress Triggered By Acid Reflux

Emotional Stress: 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?

The main issue with these medications is that they only treat the symptom, not the cause. Besides that, they have all kinds of unpleasant sideeffects, especially in the long term.

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
  • massage

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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
  • hoarseness

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?

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.

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Definition Of Gerd And Anxiety

Before we jump into the connection between GERD and anxiety, lets start with some brief definitions of GERD and anxiety.

GERD: GERD is a chronic form of acid reflux, typically categorized by symptoms that occur twice a week or more. Acid reflux happens when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes when it shouldnt, allowing stomach acid and partially digested food to travel back into the esophagus, causing a burning or painful sensation in the chest and throat, also known as heartburn. Severe heartburn can be misinterpreted as a heart attack or other symptom associated with heart disease. When left untreated, stomach acid can permanently damage the lining of the esophagus.

Anxiety: According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is defined as an emotion characterized by tense, worried thoughts and physical changes like a temporary increase in blood pressure. Individuals that deal with generalized anxiety typically have recurring, worrisome thoughts and may experience physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, dizziness, muscle tension, and rapid heartbeat.

Treatment Options For Acid Reflux And Anxiety

Is There a Link Between Acid Reflux and Anxiety?

Stress-related anxiety is common in our society and often unavoidable. Whether the stress comes from an external source or from internal pressures, anxiety can be managed through the coping mechanisms mentioned above.

Occasional heartburn from acid reflux isnt a serious health risk and can be managed by the use of over-the-counter heartburn medication or natural heartburn remedies.

If either anxiety or acid reflux is chronic, they should be treated by a health professional. Both acid reflux and anxiety can lead to other health issues if left untreated.

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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.

Characteristics Of The Study Subjects

This study included 19 099 subjects, among whom 1574 had reflux symptoms. Subjects with reflux symptoms were classified into the ERD and NERD groups according to the endoscopic findings of the gastroesophageal junction. Among 19 099 subjects, 1368 had endoscopically proven esophageal mucosal erosions/ulcers but did not have any reflux symptoms, and they were classified as the AEE group. The remaining subjects were classified as the control group. The baseline demographic and clinical characteristics of the study subjects are shown in Table 1. Subjects in the ERD and NERD groups were significantly younger than those in the control group . The percentage of women was lower in the ERD and AEE groups than in the control group (14.2% and 11.5% vs 37.3%, P

< 0.001), and the AEE and control groups . In addition, significant differences were also observed among the 3 subtypes . The percentage of subjects who exceeded the cutoff value for each psychological score showed the same pattern as the aforementioned comparison using the mean value .

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Stop Heartburn For Good

Some people are able to successfully treat GERD with lifestyle and diet changes or medications. For many people, however, these changes dont stop reflux, they just lessen the symptoms. Acid reflux surgery can stop GERD for good by correcting the problem at its causethe weakened lower esophageal sphincter. Dr. Preeti Malladi is a skilled surgeon who can help you live every day without the pain of acid reflux. Get in touch to schedule an appointment today.

Symptoms Of Gerd And Anxiety


GERD and anxiety can cause a number of different symptoms, though there are a few that both conditions seem to have in common.

GI issues, such as heartburn, nausea, and stomach pain are common symptoms of both conditions. Another symptom common in both is globus sensation, which is the painless feeling of a lump in your throat or a tightening or choking sensation.

People who experience globus sensation also often have hoarseness, a chronic cough, or a persistent need to clear their throat, which are also common symptoms caused by GERD and acid reflux.

Disrupted sleep is also a common symptom of both conditions. Acid reflux may be worse when lying down, which can cause you to wake up often. Anxiety affects your sleep pattern and can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • chest pain
  • regurgitation of sour liquid or food

Other symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feeling restless or nervous
  • a sense of impending doom or danger
  • rapid heartrate
  • difficulty controlling worry
  • chest tightening or pain

Both conditions can cause chest pain and other symptoms that are also symptoms of a heart attack. Call 911 if you have chest pain, especially if it is accompanied by shortness of breath or arm or jaw pain.

Treating GERD and anxiety may require a combination of medications for both conditions, though acid-suppressing drugs commonly used to treat GERD have been found to be less effective in people whose symptoms are related to anxiety.

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Can Gerd Cause Asthma

We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.

The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:

  • Asthma begins in adulthood.
  • Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
  • Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.

If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.

Can Stress Lead To Heartburn And 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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