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Diseases & Conditions
Could stress be making my acid reflux worse?
- By Toni Golen, MD, Contributor, and
- Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Ask the doctors
Q. I have gastroesophageal reflux disease and I’ve been very stressed with work lately. My heartburn has gotten a lot worse. Could there be a connection?
A. Yes, it’s possible. Emotional stress can increase acid production in the stomach, aggravating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In people with GERD, the lower esophageal sphincter muscle (which acts as a door between the stomach and the esophagus) doesn’t work properly. This allows acid to rise up from the stomach and into the esophagus.
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The Sensitive Gut
When your digestive system is running smoothly, you tend not to think about it. Once trouble begins, your gut — like a squeaky wheel — suddenly demands your attention. This Special Health Report, The Sensitive Gut, covers the major sources of gastrointestinal distress: irritable bowel syndrome, gastric reflux, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, and excess gas. It also includes a special Bonus Section describing how emotional stress and anxiety can cause gastrointestinal distress.
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