Relating heartburn and anxiety may not be such an obvious choice; however, it can be common. In moments of stress and panic attacks, symptoms of what seem like heartburn can occur. Hyperventilating during a panic attack can mimic heartburn due to chest pain. If you are prone to panic attacks from stress, heartburn symptoms or suffering from heartburn are more likely to trigger these attacks. Stress takes its toll on your body in multiple ways. It can affect your body’s hormone level and how well your body works. As a result of this stress, many people have a lower esophageal sphincter, which doesn’t work correctly. This will result in acid flowing up from the stomach to the throat, causing heartburn.
Three common causes of heartburn resulting from anxiety include:
Changes in Digestion: stress and anxiety can slow down and cause poor digestion, which can create a build up of acid in the stomach.
Stomach Pressure: the more pressure on the stomach, the higher the likelihood of acid being pushed through the esophagus and causing heartburn. One of the symptoms of anxiety is muscle tension; therefore, we can see the relationship between stress and heartburn, and excess tension from anxiety in the stomach causing acid reflux.
Excess Stomach Acid: stress can increase the amount of stomach acid. Not only will this cause heartburn, but may also cause a loss of appetite.
While medication may help, it is always a good idea to try to prevent heartburn and stress from occurring in the first place. Take a look at the following tips to reduce your stress levels, preventing stress related heartburn:
Exercise: can decrease stress levels due to the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals. Endorphins also help with digestion!
Healthy diet: eating a balanced meal is crucial. Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables provides your body with the nutrients needed to function well under pressure.
Getting enough sleep: 7-8 hours of sleep is needed to reduce stress levels; studies have shown those who are sleep deprived have higher levels of stress.
Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol: not only are these heartburn triggers, but studies have shown the response to stress is much higher when consuming these substances.
Suffering from stress and anxiety can be a difficult issue to deal with. The many add-on effects of stress, including heartburn, can be tough. Make an appointment with Dr. Darido today, to see how you can manage your heartburn.