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Can You Get Heartburn From Stress?

Can You Get Heartburn From Stress?

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    Having heartburn is quite familiar with youngsters and people in their adulthood and old age. It happens pretty often during or prior to a stressful situation. For example, you might be sitting in an office meeting and due to give a presentation in a few minutes, when suddenly you feel a little heartburn. You can have a slight acidity in the most critical conditions like a job interview or even in the most intimate situations like a date.

    Getting stressed once in a while about something is alright. But if it persists for a long time, it will indicate a problem. It can have severe effects on your body. Now, you might be wondering, can stress cause heartburn? The simple answer is yes. Stress and anxiety have a direct impact on a person experiencing heartburn or acidity. It means that the more you stress about a particular situation, the more you experience the symptoms of acid reflux. That’s why we are here to tell you all about how stress can trigger heartburn and what you can do to manage it.


    When you eat something, it goes from your mouth to the stomach through a food pipe called the oesophagus, and the digestion process continues with the help of gastric acid produced by your stomach.

    When the gastric acid and other gastric juices flow back towards your mouth through the food pipe during digestion and even after the digestion, it results in acidity. When this acid produced by your stomach stays in your oesophagus or food pipe for a while, it results in nausea, heartburn, etc., caused by irritation in the lining of the food pipe. 

    A few of the common symptoms of acidity include nausea, discomfort and uneasiness in your stomach, indigestion and heartburn. If you are experiencing these symptoms more than twice every week for a while, it might indicate gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

    Causes Of GERD

    Let’s look at the causes of acid reflux or GERD. Here are a few of them:

    • Obesity
    • Illnesses like hiatal hernia
    • Pregnancy
    • Medications including antibiotics and painkillers

    As mentioned earlier, heartburn can be caused by stress. But you might want to consult with a doctor to properly diagnose what is causing the heartburn in you.

    Why Does Stress Cause Heartburn?

    Although stress cannot cause gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, it can surely provoke the symptoms of acid reflux, including heartburn. There are several behavioural changes related to stress that can give you heartburn, including the following:

    • Alcohol consumption
    • Dietary habits like having spicy and oily foods at improper times
    • Insufficient sleep
    • Smoking
    • Addiction to caffeine in the form of tea and coffee
    • Not having enough physical activities.

    So if you are still wondering, “Can stress give you heartburn?” the answer is yes. According to some recent studies, you tend to experience heartburn and nausea in stressful or anxious conditions as you get more and more sensitive to gastric acids. But there is a subtle note. The production of gastric acid does not increase when you have stress. Instead, your body becomes more sensitive to tiny amounts of gastric juices. 

    Is It Just A Feeling In Your Head?

    Recent studies have shown that stress caused in a person during certain situations induces several chemical reactions in your brain. It acts on your pain receptors, making you more vulnerable to having pain. In gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, stress makes you sensitive to even the slightest increase in gastric acid. 

    Additionally, stress results in the depletion of prostaglandin, a lipid compound that protects your stomach against the adverse effects of gastric acid, due to which you experience heartburn and discomfort in your body.

    Heartburn due to stress also originates from it altering the functions of your oesophagus. The muscles in your oesophagus that prevent the backflow of the gastric acid fade away. Due to that, acid goes into your food pipe, causing heartburn.

    Stress And Heartburn Management

    Before you start treating GERD, you need to get it diagnosed by a specialist. Then, if you want to manage GERD symptoms, including heartburn, you should try a treatment with medications and certain stress coping mechanisms. 

    As having the symptoms of GERD can put a dent in the quality of life, it will be helpful for you to get treatment. The doctor will provide you with a varied combination of drugs to treat GERD. 

    As mentioned earlier, stress does cause heartburn and GERD. But it also affects your health quite a lot due to diseases of heart, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, etc. It also makes you more vulnerable to having a stroke. People have reported that even after consuming medication for GERD, stress has caused heartburn. So you should know about the coping mechanisms for stress. 

    Coping Mechanisms For Stress

    Here are a few methods for relieving stress:

    • Avoid any trigger foods: Chocolates, coffee and tea (due to caffeine), oily and spicy foods, etc., for certain people. So you might want to avoid them. 
    • Relaxation: Try relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc., to relieve your stress.
    • Include exercise and workouts in your routine: Exercising helps release a feel-good hormone in your body that relaxes your body and mind and enables you to forget the stress factors to a certain extent.
    • Adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep can be the best treatment for stress. You should have at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. 

    It would help if you tried these approaches to stay away from stress, causing less heartburn, supporting your overall health.

    If you are looking for answers to more queries similar to “Can u get heartburn from stress?” you might want to get in touch with the experts at Ujala Cygnus Hospital. So book an appointment for a consultation today!

    For free teleconsultation with our doctor, call us at 88569-88569 or fill the form to share your problem.

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