The real reason you get acid reflux

If you experience frequent heartburn, you’re not alone. Acid reflux, which causes the painful sensation in your upper stomach and esophagus, is a common condition in the U.S. A study published the journal Gastroenterology found one-third of participants suffered from symptoms once a week, so this can definitely impact your life greatly.

While certain foods and beverages can trigger acid reflux, there’s another sneaky culprit that may be the cause, and that is stress. According to the Journal of Gastroenterology and Motility, when we feel anxious and tense, those emotions spur a physical response that leads to increased acid production in the stomach. Researchers also suggest that stress makes your muscles tighter, including those around the stomach, pushing the acid higher into your esophagus.

More proof: A study in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that those with the highest levels of anxiety experienced the most severe symptoms of acid reflux. Plus, researchers discovered that the heartburn pain can then increase your anxiety levels, creating a vicious cycle, per the Cureus Journal of Medical Science.

Ready for the good news? With the help of some easy stress-busters, you can calm your nerves and your stomach.

Stress-busters to ease acid reflux

One of the simplest ways to de-stress is with a cup of hot tea; just make sure it’s decaffeinated to protect your tummy. A safe bet? Chamomile. The journal Phytomedicine found that compounds in the tea significantly reduced feelings of anxiety. Pair it with an egg for breakfast, and you have a double-whammy of stress relief, per Medical News Today. That’s because eggs contain tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts your levels of serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter.

Also smart: Try lighting a lavender-scented candle or smoothing on some lavender lotion daily. Not only can it help improve your sleep, lavender also slashes stress. In fact, Dr. Marlynn Wei shares with Psychology Today that “lavender oil aromatherapy calmed the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, as well as changing brain waves to a more relaxed state.” If you prefer a different scent, Wei notes that bergamot, lemon, and jasmine are also effective for lowering stress levels.

Now that you know the culprit behind your heartburn, and the expert tips for beating it, you can start feeling better today.

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