High levels of stress linked to rising incidence of heartburn

According to studies, the prevalence of heartburn and symptoms associated with acid reflux has risen dramatically over the last decade.

A NATIONAL poll among pharmacists has revealed a steep rise in the number of South Africans complaining of heartburn and acid reflux of late.
According to studies, the prevalence of heartburn and symptoms associated with acid reflux has risen dramatically over the last decade.
Currently more than 1.5 million South Africans suffer from this uncomfortable condition daily and the figure is growing annually.

Globally there has also been an alarming rise in oesophageal adenocarcinoma, the most common form of cancer of the oesophagus, which is strongly linked to chronic heartburn.

While it may be true that South Africa rates among the ‘most stressed’ nations in the world, could the increasing demands and stress of modern life be the likely culprit behind the growing incidence of heartburn?

The verdict is still out about whether or not stress actually increases the production of stomach acid, but we live in stressful times and heartburn is becoming incredibly common.

Stress affects our overall gastrointestinal health, but some experts argue that patients who experience a lot of work or emotional stress may say they suffer from more severe reflux symptom, without necessarily having more acute reflux.

Experts suggest that stress could stimulate areas of the brain that may in turn make pain receptors in the oesophagus more active. So while acid levels may not rise that much more in people who are stressed, each drop of acid may just become that much more agonising.

Here are a few stress-relief methods that may reduce the symptoms of heartburn:

· Do whatever calms you down – it can be as simple as listening to your favourite music.
· Take some time out of the office or any other stressful environment you may find yourself in.
· Do something that you really enjoy, whether it’s playing golf, pottering in the garden or any other hobby that you find relaxing.
· Exhaustion may exacerbate heartburn symptoms, so be sure to get enough shut-eye and try to sleep elevated.
· Get moving – exercise helps loosen up tight and tense muscles or go for a massage.
· Learn to say no and prioritise people and activities.
· Laugh more!
· Talk to a therapist or good friend which can help alleviate stress and put things in perspective again.
· If you’re stressed rather opt for healthier and less fatty food options. Stay away from spicy foods, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes and caffeine.

Photo: Internet

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
Child dies in tragic accident on East Street