Why People Experience Heartburn When they Feel Disgusted or Panicked

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Why people experience heartburn when they feel disgusted or panicked?

When the body experiences a fight or flight response, it releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can stimulate the production of stomach acid by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which can increase the activity of the gastric glands that secrete hydrochloric acid (HCl).

Similarly, when someone experiences intense disgust, the body can also respond with increased secretion of stomach acid. This is because disgust triggers the release of stress hormones as well as the activation of the vagus nerve, which can stimulate gastric acid secretion.

The muscular constriction may be related to the body’s response to stress and anxiety. During periods of heightened stress or anxiety, the muscles in the body can become tense and contracted, including the muscles in the digestive system. This can lead to the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux.

The body’s response to stress and intense emotions can lead to the stimulation of gastric acid secretion and muscular constriction, which can contribute to the development of acid reflux and other digestive problems.

How stress stimulates the production of stomach acid?

Stress stimulates the production of stomach acid through the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the body’s primary stress response system. When the brain perceives stress, it sends a signal to the hypothalamus, which then releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH triggers the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a role in the stress response and has many functions in the body, including the stimulation of the production of stomach acid. Cortisol binds to receptors on the parietal cells of the stomach lining, which are responsible for producing stomach acid. This binding leads to an increase in the production of stomach acid, which can cause or exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Additionally, stress can also affect the motility of the digestive system, causing food to move more slowly through the digestive tract, which can contribute to the development of acid reflux or GERD. Stress can also cause changes in eating patterns and increase the consumption of foods that can trigger acid reflux or GERD, such as fatty or spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Verified by: Rami Diab (April 15, 2023)

Citation: Rami Diab. (April 15, 2023). Why People Experience Heartburn When they Feel Disgusted or Panicked. Medcoi Journal of Medicine, 4(2). urn:medcoi:article21517.

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