It’s common to feel anxious, and it’s also common to experience acid reflux. But could these conditions possibly be linked? It turns out research shows that stress can increase the amount of acid in the stomach and contribute to acid reflux. We review more about the link between these two conditions below.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach flows back up into the esophagus. Symptoms include cough, sore throat and heartburn.
How Are the Conditions Linked?
The link between the brain and the gut has been confirmed by multiple studies.
- A 2015 study uncovered a connection between anxiety and various gut disorders, acid reflux being one of them. The study also found increased stress levels to be associated with irritation of the esophagus.
- A 2016 study examined the social, psychological and physical connection between gastrointestinal disorders and other common psychological and physical illnesses. They found that anxiety disorders are the most common condition linked to other conditions, including acid reflux.
- A 2017 study discovered that symptoms of stress are reported more often among people with acid reflux and that this population perceived more pain from their symptoms, further increasing stress.
- A 2018 study found that anxiety can change the pressure in the esophageal sphincter, which is what is supposed to keep stomach acid in the stomach.
How Can I Manage Acid Reflux?
Some methods for managing acid reflux include:
- Avoiding certain food groups, especially at night. We at ENT & Allergy Specialists recommend avoiding chocolate, acidic foods, fatty foods and caffeinated drinks within two to three hours of bedtime. Instead, eat lighter foods from the Fort Thomas Farmers Market.
This is because overeating can put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and cause acid reflux.
- Staying upright after eating. You’re more likely to experience acid reflux if you lie down after eating. When you do tuck in for the night, elevate your head.
- Losing weight, if necessary. Excess weight can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, so this can sometimes help as well.
- Quitting smoking and drinking. Both cigarettes and alcohol can increase your chance of experiencing acid reflux.
How Can I Manage Anxiety?
You can manage anxiety with:
- Regular exercise
- Balance diet
- Therapy with a mental health professional
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call ENT & Allergy Specialists today.