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Your stress can trigger heartburn and acidity

Dr. Naresh Bansal discusses the clinical adversities associated with stress, triggering gastric disorders

Published: Mar 27, 2023 03:18:18 PM IST
Updated: Mar 29, 2023 09:39:12 AM IST

Your stress can trigger heartburn and acidityIt might be surprising to know that the majority of people suffering from chronic anxiety and  stress have complaints of severe acid reflux and heartburn.Stress or anxiety once in a while does not pose much concern, but stress over some time can have deleterious effects on our bodies. Additionally, stress is directly correlated to acidity, implying the more stressed a person is,  he/she will experience the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn to a greater extent.  

Several studies have shown that whenever a person is stressed or anxious, they tend to  experience more severe symptoms as they become more sensitive to gastric acids. It has to be  noted that under stressful or anxious situations, one does not produce more gastric acid but  becomes sensitive to even small amounts of gastric acids resulting in symptoms. This occurs due  to a lot of chemical changes happening in the brain, which in turn act on the pain receptors thus  making the person more sensitive to pain.

Stress also depletes a chemical called prostaglandin that helps in protecting the stomach from the  ill effects of gastric acid, as a result, a stressed person can feel extreme discomfort from gastric  acid. Stress also alters the way the food pipe or esophagus works. The muscles of the esophagus  and the sphincter of the esophagus that prevents the backward flow of stomach acids are reduced  thus resulting in symptoms of GERD.

Hence, the treatment and management measures to “Guard against GERD” involve both lifestyle  modifications that include stress coping mechanisms and medical treatment with medicines.

Some of the important tips to manage stress include  
1. Use guided meditation - Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the  stress of day-to-day life.  

2. Practice deep breathing- deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your  sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s response to a perceived threat.  Deep breathing can help in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn  can reduce overall stress and anxiety levels.

3. Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition- Physical exercise and nutrition are two  important components in how one responds to stress. Physical exercise is proven to be a  great stress reliever and also helps to improve the overall quality of life. Meanwhile,  nutrition is important as stress can deplete certain vitamins, and maintaining proper  nutrition will allow the body to combat stress.

4. Manage social media time- Spending time on social media sites can become stressful.  The time spent on social media can be used for visiting friends, being outside enjoying  the weather, or reading a great book.

5. Self-care- Life, and particularly work, can be stressful. Self-care is not a nice-to-have but  essential to keep us functioning well and improving our overall well-being.

Issued in Public Interest by Dr.Reddy's Laboratories LTD

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