There is a sphincter between the esophagus and the cardiac part of the stomach. This function of the sphincter is to control the movement of food and liquid substances from the esophagus into the stomach. This sphincter is called the lower esophageal sphincter. However, there are some conditions in which the sphincter between the two organs has defects.
In situations where the sphincter defects, food substances from the stomach pass into the esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter partially closes or doesn’t close at all. The content of the stomach is highly acidic, because of the secretion of acid substances into the stomach. Some of the symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, severe chest pain, nausea, vomiting, bad breath and so on. Some of the risk factors for this disease are excess weight, smoking, some medications, and pregnancy. Acid reflux can be diagnosed if an individual experience it more than twice in a week.
What Are the Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux?
The signs and symptoms of acid reflux can be categorized into two, based on the age of people affected.
The most common presentations of acid reflux in adults is usually an abnormal taste in the mouth. This taste usually mimics or have a close similarity to the taste of acid in the mouth. Other symptoms common in adults are heartburn, chest pain and the regurgitation of food, from the stomach, back to the mouth.
However, there are some symptoms that are not very popular in adults, examples of these kinds of symptoms are a sore throat, nausea, and coughing. Acid reflux often causes some injuries in the esophagus, due to the acid reflux. Some of these injuries include;
This is a condition in which there is a change in the epithelium of the esophagus, from squamous to the intestinal columnar epithelium.
This is a form of cancer, that could develop if acid reflux persists untreated for a long time.
Strictures of the Esophagus
This is commonly caused by the inflammation of the esophagus. Inflammation of the esophagus eventually leads to the narrowing of the organ.
This disease might not be easy to detect in children. This is because kids might not be able to fully describe how they’re feeling. The signs and symptoms of this disease often vary differently to that in adults. Acid reflux disease in adults may present as nausea, vomiting, and coughing. The disease can also have some pulmonary system like symptoms like wheezing.
In babies, the signs parents or guardians can notice includes the refusal of food by the baby, crying and requesting for food, only to turn away from the bottle, and cry once more for food. Other symptoms that can be noticed in babies are bad breath, the inability of the child to gain sufficient weight for his age. Generally, most babies would outgrow this disease before they turn one, however some this disease does persist in some babies, even after the age of one.
What are the Causes of Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease is caused by the weakening or inability of the lower esophageal sphincter to close. Below are some of the factors that can lead to the development of this condition;
1. Excess Weight
People who are obese or have excess weight have high risks of developing acid reflux. According to statistics, about 14% of all cases of acid reflux are associated with a change in body weight.
This increases the risk of having hernia due to the motility problems associated with it.
Does Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux?
Anxiety is one of the risk factors, however, it’s unlikely that it might cause acid reflux. However, stress is an important factor that can increase acid secretion into the stomach. Anxiety can only trigger heartburn in patients who already have this disease. There are different ways through which anxiety can cause acid reflux
Increased Pressure in The Stomach: Increased pressure is commonly associated with acid reflux. This is because there is always an increase in gastric pressure when people are anxious or stressed. This increases the muscle tension of the gastric muscles, pushing up the contents of the stomach, including the gastric acid, that might eventually reflux back into the esophagus.
Increased Gastric Acid: Stress increases the amount of acid that gets secreted into the stomach. This excessive amount of acid in the stomach has a high chance of refluxing back into the esophagus, and even leading to appetite problems in patients. This commonly presents as heartburn in affected patients
Alterations in Digestion: According to some studies, anxiety changes the digestive process. Anxiety causes food to be digested slowly and poorly. This might also affect the way food moves in the digestive tract, eventually leading to food reflux, and causing heartburn.
Stress is also a factor that can cause the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. This is also same for anxiety.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Anxiety?
Acid reflux is a medical condition that causes a lot of pain and makes the affected individual feel uncomfortable. Acid reflux does cause anxiety, and sometimes depression in patients. This is because, the patients find it difficult to eat, even when they’re hungry. This is enough to make them anxious and stress, However, the worst part of this disease is that the more people get worried and stressed, the more the acidity of the stomach. So, the more people get worried, the worse their condition becomes.
Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling that most people get, especially when they are anticipating the outcome of a project. It’s a completely natural feeling. However, it might become a problem, when people feel anxious persistently for a long time. It’s usually not good for the body. Below are some of the symptoms of anxiety;
1. Fear and discomfort
4. Shortness of breath
5. Panic attack
6. Heart palpitation
7. Dry mouth
8. Nausea and tiredness
9. High blood pressure
11. Increased intensity of the body muscles
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