GERD and Anxiety: How Are the Two Conditions Related?

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If you are experiencing frequent heartburns every week, you should know that it is one of GERD’s most common symptoms. GERD means Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and it is the condition you have when your stomach acid goes back up your esophagus.

In America, the percentage of the population with GERD and anxiety are almost the same. Some researchers even believe that the two conditions are connected in some way. This article will dive deep into this assumption and look into whether there is any truth behind it.

How is GERD connected to anxiety?

If you are curious about the previously mentioned claims, here are some studies that show the possible connection between GERD and anxiety:

  • In 2015, a study was conducted to explore the role of psychological factors in GERD and how these factors affect the quality of life of GERD patients. The results showed that having anxiety and depression play an essential role in triggering GERD. It also stated that the quality of life of patients with GERD was significantly reduced due to anxiety and depression.
  • In another study, it was concluded that psychological symptomatology and mood and anxiety disorders are indeed correlated with GERD symptoms. They are said to increase certain GERD symptoms, such as heartburn and upper abdominal pain, during an attack.

Understanding the Symptoms of GERD and Anxiety

Another thing that makes the two appear related is how they share similar symptoms. While there are unique and different symptoms for each, people with GERD and anxiety commonly experience the following:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Globus sensation (or the painless tightening of the throat, causing chronic cough, hoarseness, and the need to clear the throat often) 
  • Frequently interrupted sleep

When a person has anxiety and other psychological distress, it can affect their body’s esophageal motility. Anxiety can also impact the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle responsible for relaxing, opening, and closing the stomach to allow food and liquid to pass and prevent them from flowing back up. 

How to Treat Them

The best way to treat GERD and anxiety is to follow what your doctor recommends. They may provide you with drugs you can use to suppress the symptoms you experience. There are also home remedies that can help make you feel better. Here are the solutions you can explore:

Remedies You Can Try at Home

Make sure to incorporate the following into your daily routine to avoid GERD and anxiety attacks:

  • Have a healthy diet, and make sure to avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux
  • Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol
  • Exercise regularly, consider performing relaxation exercises such as tai chi, yoga, or meditation

Some Medications That Your Doctor May Prescribe

  • Over-the-counter antacids
  • Psychotherapy
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPI)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)

Conclusion

Although there is no concrete evidence yet to establish the connection between GERD and anxiety, it is undeniable how emotions, feelings, and the way your body responds to stress can affect your internal body parts and their functions. This article shows how you can prevent and manage both conditions, but it is always best to consult with your doctor to know the right treatment for your health problems. 

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If you’re looking to treat your GERD, visit our Heartburn No More website for some extremely useful tips.

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