Learn about mechanisms behind stress or anxiety causing acid reflux. Hiatal hernia. When the LES and stomach wall below it partially bulge up through the opening in the diaphragm, it allows the acidic contents of the stomach up into the esophagus. The larger the hernia, the greater the acid reflux. This is particularly important if you’re under stress, as you’re likely to be more sensitive to heartburn-triggering foods like chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, spicy foods, and fatty foods. Pregnancy. The growing womb can push up and put additional pressure on the LES, changing it and allowing stomach contents into the esophagus.
So, even if medication to block acid production helps in the short-term, it’s certainly not a solution, and over time it can actually make your acid reflux worse. Instead of masking your symptoms, investigate what’s really causing you acid reflux. You will find literally hundreds of pharmaceutical drugs and medications on relieving acid reflux and chronic heartburn. However many of these proton pump inhibitors and antacids can do more damage than good. These drugs can actually increase your acid reflux because they reduce or inhibit the production of stomach acid.
A more recent study , published in Internal Medicine, interviewed 12,653 people with GERD and found that nearly half reported stress as the biggest factor that worsened symptoms, even when on medication. Heartburn, in general, is not dangerous per se. However, there are some risks. For example, both stress and heartburn can lead to ulcers, and ulcers can be dangerous. GERD has a very low chance of causing long term disease. The problem is not just the danger, however. The problem is that the symptoms of heartburn often lead to further anxiety.
Stress. When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which inhibits your digestion. What’s more, your immune system isn’t as strong when you are facing more stress. Both increased cortisol and reduce immune system function make acid reflux more common. Stress can also affect your hormones and your body’s efficiency. Thus, many people with anxiety may have a lower esophageal sphincter (the sphincter that controls acid reflux) that works improperly as a result of anxiety.