Is There a Link between Anxiety or Stress and Acid Reflux Symptoms? What Research Says.

Stress and work

Acid reflux symptoms come from having too much stomach acid, and the answer is taking PPI medication, right?


The reality is, heartburn can involve more factors than stomach acid…and treating your symptoms isn’t about popping a PPI pill twice a day.

In fact, research shows there’s a link between anxiety or stress and acid reflux symptoms.

Perhaps you have a stressful work environment. Or maybe you find yourself carrying a burden because your child is experiencing academic challenges or a friend is suffering from an illness.

If you’re experiencing stress and you have signs of reflux, it’s time to reconsider your symptoms…and what you’re doing to find relief.

In this article, we’ll look at three research publications that demonstrate a link between anxiety or stress and your acid reflux symptoms. And we’ll explain how you can address your heartburn symptoms…naturally.

#1. “Can Acute Stress Cause Esophageal Hypersensitivity in Healthy Individuals?”

In this short piece, Yu Kyung Cho, writing in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, notes that “[s]tress is able to alter esophageal sensitivity.”

Cho goes on to cite a study where researchers looked at the impact of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). According to the scholars, this hormone given through an IV “mimics stress-induced physiological changes.”

After giving 20 participants CRH, the researchers discovered that, in response to electric stimulus, the patients had increased sensitivity in their esophagi. This was a finding that Cho stated “[emphasized] the important role of stress in esophageal sensitivity” and had meaning for functional heartburn and GERD.

Bottom line: If you have symptoms of acid reflux, stress may play a role in the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing.

#2. “Mind Over Gut: Reviewing the Role of Psychological Intervention in Acid Reflux Management”

This article makes the case that there’s a link between the mind and your reflux symptoms. To prove this point, the author cites a number of studies…

  • One research study revealed that anxiety is associated with more severe pain behind the breastbone.
  • Another research study revealed that stressed mice developed an esophageal abnormality, which led to enhanced acid exposure.
  • In yet another study, high anxiety and other symptoms “were predictors for poor response to acid suppressing therapy.”

Bottom line: There’s a clear link between mental factors and symptoms of heartburn. If you experience stress…and you have acid reflux…you can’t ignore this brain-gut link.

#3. “Associations among Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Psychological Stress, and Sleep Disturbances in Japanese Adults”

stress anxietyPublished in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, this article draws a clear connection between stress and acid reflux symptoms.

For this study, researchers used a questionnaire for participants. After collecting the data, the answers in the questionnaire revealed a positive association between stress and acid reflux symptoms.

Bottom line: While this study didn’t show a causal link (e.g., that stress causes acid reflux symptoms), it did show that there’s a connection between what’s going on in your mind and what you’re feeling in your tummy.

Addressing Your Stress and Acid Reflux Symptoms

There’s a link between anxiety or stress and acid reflux symptoms…it’s one reason why treating your heartburn isn’t as simple as taking harmful medication.

If you’re on GERD medication—but you’re also under stress—here are a few tips to naturally reduce your psychological strain:

  • Make a concerted effort to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep amplifies already stressful challenges and makes decision-making difficult.
  • Limit or eliminate your caffeine intake. Caffeine is known for its ability to contribute to anxiety, so opt for an herbal cup of tea over your cup of morning joe.
  • Get outside, and get active. There’s nothing like healthy exercise to reduce your stress levels. You don’t have to run a marathon—simply get outside to go for a walk.

It’s important to reduce stress in your life. But it’s also important to address physical challenges associated with acid reflux symptoms, such as improving your digestive health.

At Cure Your Acid Reflux, we’ve done just that. Our Cure Your Acid Reflux Program creates a clear path for addressing your symptoms, healing your gut, and finding relief from pain.

Get off ineffective and dangerous GERD medications…and get on the path to relief when you enroll in the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program.