Anxiety and Depression Aggravate GERD Symptoms
- Posted on: Jun 11 2015
A study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that depression and anxiety are linked to the increased severity of heartburn, chest pain as well as the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in patients.
GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and causes the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus. Typically in a normal digestive system, the LES opens and closes properly in order to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from backing up. However, an individual with GERD suffers from LES dysfunction. In GERD patients, the LES can either open too often, doesn’t close tight enough, relaxes inappropriately, or is too weak. It is this dysfunction that allows for the stomach’s content to flow back up into the esophagus. GERD is not only uncomfortable, but can also sometimes lead to other serious health problems and reduces quality of life.
A study was conducted by Boudewijn F. Kessing, MD, of the Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam and his colleagues, and involved 225 patients who underwent an evaluation of their GERD symptoms. This evaluation determined the effects of depression and anxiety on those with the disease. Out of the 225 patients, 78 were found to have functional heartburn, 147 patients were diagnosed with GERD, and 36 of these patients were discovered to have a hypersensitivity to gastroesophageal reflux. Correlations were found between the patients’ assessment of their quality of life and increased levels of depression and anxiety. Among the patients with GERD, levels of anxiety were found to rise, along with increased heartburn and severe chest pain.
Reducing your stress level and by avoiding certain trigger foods can help relieve the symptoms of GERD, while helping you reduce anxiety and depression. However, please remember to check with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle. If you are living in the NYC metro area and are in need of a doctor to assist you with your GERD symptoms, contact us to see one of our physicians.
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