What Is The Connection Between Anxiety And Indigestion
Anxiety and indigestion are two common conditions which often occur together. The ailments are related in two ways. Anxiety often causes stomach upset which can result in indigestion for many patients. The opposite is also true. Severe and chronic indigestion due to gastrointestinal problems can also eventually cause anxiety. Both conditions are generally treatable once underlying causes are found and therapies are begun.
One major reason why anxiety often happens together with indigestion is because when the body becomes anxious, the stomach begins to produce more acid. This can cause heartburn and may also slow digestion leading to additional stomach problems like gas or bloating. Once these painful symptoms are present, anxiety can worsen due to the discomfort. This often creates a cycle which requires medication to alleviate in the beginning. Anxiety medications can include anti-depressants and often continue long-term, depending on the reason for the anxiety.
How To Prevent Acid Reflux And Anxiety
Without remedying both acid reflux and anxiety, either can provoke the occurrence of each other through a cyclical effect. The many acid reflux symptoms can lead to anxiety which can in-turn fuel acid reflux symptoms. Or anxiety can raise the pain of heartburn leading to more anxiousness and so on.
Acid Reflux Prevention: Lifestyle and dietary changes are the main ways to prevent acid reflux. Avoid heartburn triggers , slow down while eating, do not overeat, avoid eating before bed, and sleep on an incline.
Anxiety Management: Normal events that trigger anxiety cant be prevented, but they can be managed through:
If you suffer from chronic anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, panic disorder, and social anxiety, the help of a medical professional will be required to overcome these disorders.
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.
Also Check: Why Does Salad Cause Diarrhea
Acid Reflux Anxiety And Heart Palpitations
This is a fairly common situation and certainly, these are very worrying episodes for those who suffer them.
In some cases, they are true panic attacks.
But theres more: in fact, according to the American Heart Association, panic attacks can also be the only ones responsible for chest pain, another typical symptom of acid reflux.
This might make things more complicated.
This because a person can have both anxiety-related heartburn, and GERD-related heartburn together.
There is evidence that anxiety are associated with increased severity of retrosternal pain and heartburn.
This leads to a significant impairment of the quality of life
Given that, we can better understand why the best remedies for people who suffer from these conditions is a more comprehensive approach, that works on both reflux and anxiety as well.
This has not to be done with drugs, but with natural elements that make everything safer and more lasting over time.
Such an approach will help you get rid of symptoms, that may be very serious, as were going to discover in the following section.
Prevent Coffee Heartburn By Getting A Safe Amount Of Caffeine
A big player in the cause of acid reflux is overcaffeination. When your caffeine intake is too high, the muscle that connects the stomach to the esophagus is relaxed.1 When this happens, an opening is created for stomach acid to come up into your esophagus, which causes acid reflux. Ew! Thats pretty gross.
So how do we make sure we have a safe amount of caffeine? Most experts agree 600mg per day is overcaffeination.2 For some such as pregnant mothers, its advised to be 200mg .3 According to Health Canada the federal health department in Canada 400mg is a safe daily caffeine consumption rate.4
Read Also: Side Effects Of Heartburn
Worst Type Of Gum For Acid Reflux Symptoms
Chewing mint gum can give you acid reflux. Mint is a heartburn trigger that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Avoid mint, peppermint, and spearmint gum to prevent acid reflux.
Like the mint gum mentioned above, nicotine gum will also relax the LES and should be avoided.
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.
Recommended Reading: Diarrhea Medicine Pregnancy
Heartburn Symptoms And Triggers
The most common telltale symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation, but it’s not the only one. While people experience heartburn differently, there are other common symptoms of heartburn to watch out for as well as different heartburn triggers that can bring on pain and discomfort.
So, how do you know if you have heartburn instead of something more serious? Which foods, drinks and lifestyle choices can trigger heartburn? See these checklists to learn more about possible symptoms, and what causes heartburn.
Can Anxiety Cause Shortness Of Breath
Certain anxiety disorders can cause feelings of shortness of breath.
General anxiety increases your respiration rate, causing you to breathe more rapidly than usual. This faster breathing, also called hyperventilation, isn’t the same as shortness of breath, however.
Shortness of breath feels like a tightening in your chest and often comes with trouble breathing. It’s not a common symptom of general anxiety.
However, similar to feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath is associated with panic attacks and panic disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder.
Since it can be a sign of heart attack or another life-threatening condition, unexplained shortness of breath is a medical emergency. Whether you have a history of panic attacks or not, you should go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing sudden and/or severe shortness of breath.
Recommended Reading: Can Peanut Butter Cause Heartburn
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
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.
Recommended Reading: Do Probiotics Make You Poop A Lot
Ways To Reduce Chest Pressure
When you are experiencing chest pressure and/or tightness, the key is to try to figure out the potential causes. Once you deem anxiety to be the cause of the symptom, the next goal is to stop it. See the following examples:
- Hyperventilation: Try to get your breathing under control by taking slower, deeper breaths and not trying to over-breathe or breathe too fast. When youre experiencing hyperventilation, you may feel as though youre not getting enough air, but hyperventilation occurs when you have expelled more CO2 than you make. So breathing more slowly helps to rebuild those CO2 levels.
- Bloating/Heartburn: If you can potentially reduce/prevent any gas, do so. You may also want to consider taking an antacid or drinking water, which may help with bloating or heartburn. Heartburn can be improved by eating more slowly, decreasing the amounts of spicy foods you consume, and staying upright for at least 30 minutes after eating. Also, avoid heartburn-inducing foods like peppermint, chocolate, coffee or caffeinated beverages, tomatoes, alcohol, and citrus fruits
- Muscle Strain: Be mindful of lifting or carrying items that are too heavy. Make sure to stretch and warm up your muscles before doing any strenuous activities.
These are only temporary fixes. Remember that your chest pressure and/or tightness is often related to some type of anxiety issue or anxiety disorder. That means that the only way to prevent the chest pressure from returning is to learn to manage your anxiety.
Chest Tightness Due To Anxiety: Symptoms Causes And Solutions To Relieve It
- Chest tightness is a real, common physical symptom of anxiety
- It is more common in some types of anxiety than others
- Breathing exercises have a direct effect on chest tightness, although it may not address all the different causes
- It is not uncommon for chest tightness from anxiety to trigger further anxiety, especially in those with health fears
- How you address the tightness has to do with its cause. However, all anxiety related chest tightness will decrease if a person learns to manage their anxiety
You May Like: Tramadol Ibs
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Non
The first time a person has non-cardiac chest pain, he or she usually goes to the emergency room, thinking he or she is having a heart attack. The first thing the emergency room doctor will do is make sure the pain is not a heart attack or due to heart disease.
If it truly is non-cardiac chest pain, the emergency room doctor usually refers the patient to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in digestive system disorders, for more testing and treatment.
Some people who have had several episodes of non-cardiac chest pain go to their primary care physician or a heart doctor instead of the emergency room. The doctor will follow the same steps to make sure the pain is not heart-related, then refer the person to a gastroenterologist.
What To Do Next
Now, its time to take action.
If you are concerned about the relationships between PPIs and COVID-19, you can read here to keep informed and safe.
We strongly suggest considering the above-indicated programs to start your journey towards the achievement of a normal quality of life.
If you wish, there are at least two additional options to consider.
The #3 one is called Acid Reflux Strategy, and its a comprehensive program that can work well for people who are dealing with reflux after they overcome stressors and psychological factors.
The #4 one is particularly suggested for people who have reflux and other digestive conditions at the same time, starting from H. pylori infection.
The presence of additional infections can make stress even worse, thats why you should consider a broader approach.
Well post other special options to consider soon, so stay tuned.
For the moment, thank you for your attention!
Also Check: Do Bananas Reduce Bloating
The Worst Foods For Heartburn Sufferers
If you are one of those poor souls who suffer from heartburn whatever you eat, you know what hell eating can be. You never know what will trigger your heartburn and that awful burning in the throat and stomach and sour taste in your mouth. Going out for a nice dinner scares you because it will probably end up with a sleepless night since your heartburn is even worse if you lay down. You know that antacids provide some relief, but that the trick is simply to avoid foods which cause heartburn.
There are some foods that you absolutely have to give up. The most common heartburn triggers are acidic foods, greasy foods, caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, onion and alcohol. These triggers cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to stay open and to allow stomach acid to back up, causing discomfort and pain associated with heartburn.
There are some dishes that combine more than one heartburn trigger and if you suffer from heartburn, they are totally forbidden for you unless you want to punish yourself for your gluttony. Lets mention a few popular dishes that should not be on your menu any more:
Recommended Reading: Why Does Salad Make Me Poop Immediately
A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.
They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.
It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.
Read Also: Soybean Casein Digest Agar
What Should You Eat When You Have Indigestion
While there is no official list of foods to eat if you have indigestion, if you experience symptoms every time you eat you could be among the 20% of Americans who have a chronic acid reflux condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
When the muscular tube in your stomach allows stomach acid to reach your esophagus, the food you consume can push upward and cause acid reflux. To help control some of these symptoms, you may want to reduce your intake of foods like these if youâve been diagnosed with GERD :
- Tomato-based sauces
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!
Also Check: Does Pepcid Help Ibs
Prevent Coffee Heartburn By Only Drinking 100% Arabica Coffee
In addition to drinking shade-grown coffee, you should also consider only drinking 100% Arabica beans. So whats the difference between Arabica and regular coffee? Well, there are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Robusta beans are cheaper because they grow at lower altitudes, and theyre more hardy making them resilient to pests. But, the tradeoff is Robusta beans are more bitter and contain twice the caffeine content of Arabica beans.
What does this have to do with preventing coffee heartburn? The extra caffeine in Robusta beans makes you more susceptible to acid reflux and heartburn.
So whats the solution? Drink 100% Arabica coffee youll taste and feel the difference, and wont ever want to go back to Robusta beans.
Many people give up coffee because of acid reflux and heartburn. But you dont have to! Just remember to avoid hyper-caffenation by only drinking 100% Arabica, Shade-Grown coffee.
And if you dont believe me, check out these testimonials from our customers here. Theyve discovered that Shade-Grown and Arabica beans are the solution to prevent coffee heartburn. Try our 100% Arabica and Shade Grown coffee and see if it works for you. Youll be glad you did!