Stress certainly has an effect. My idea is that it interferes with your breathing pattern. If you breath by expanding your lungs and contracting your abdomen when you breath in, you are pressing down on your diaphragm with your lungs and pressing up with your abdominal muscles on the gut. This results in the stomach being pressed up against the diaphragm, resulting in reflux or hiatus hernia. There are other effects, but more in a sec. You can try something called Chi Kung for breathing methods - it also has the benefit of being a form of meditation which should help stress too.
The other effect of stress is a known increase of the permeability of the intestinal mucosa. This is also caused by OTC antacids. This results in bacteria from the gut entering the system and causing an immune response. The immune response kills gut bacteria which release endotoxins when killed. The gut permeability allows those endotoxins to enter the bloodstream. The liver normally removes things like the endotoxins, but it can be overwhelmed because of the large volume of gut bacteria releasing endotoxins. I don't know from reliable sources about
the following, but it seems reasonable: presumably the liver would become inflamed and then the gall bladder would soon follow. Those symptoms would be quite similar to heartburn.
Another effect has to do with PPI's. They reduce acid secretion in the stomach to the point where the digestive enzymes don't work properly (enzymes are dependent on pH for proper function). This results in undigested food entering the gut where it cannot be absorbed (it needs to be digested properly for that to work). The unabsorbed food is then consumed by gut bacteria. This has the effect of reducing peristalsis and backing up the digestive tract. The result is that the stomach does not empty normally and the contents remain in the stomach for extended periods, promoting opportunities for reflux. This effect also happens in people who have impaired digestion. If they consume foods that they don't have an adequate enzyme supply for, those foods will do the same thing. It is usually foods that are consumed in large amounts that this happens with. Starches are the largest problem, but enzyme insufficiency may also result from amylase inhibitors or protease inhibitors in certain foods. For info on a diet that avoids feeding gut bacteria (and thus avoids reduced motility) see: http://www.scdiet.org/
Post Edited (Keeper) : 8/27/2008 11:24:10 PM (GMT-6)