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Burping, chest pressure, anxiety, hypochondria. Worried about GERD

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 11905 Questions
Hello. Im a 30 y o female. Suffering from anxiety and hypochondria. Lately, after losing a close person (74 y o father in law) i had my panic attacks back... For the past couple of weeks i have been suffering from constant burping (every couple of minutes) and after meals its worse. I also have uncomfortable chest preasure that is relieved only by burping. I tried eating slow and with my mouth closed, and small meals. But it doesnt seem to help. Im constantly stressed and feel anxiety, because i fear i might have cancer. I was told that this might be GERD. But i keep worrying all the time that it might be cancer... it will be a long time until they give me a gastro test, i vant handle the stress.... please help me
Posted Wed, 3 Oct 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 3 hours later

I am sorry for your loss.
Anxiety is common, it can occur by itself or in association with depression. These illnesses are just as serious as any other illness that someone can experience, as they say in medicine health is a state of physical, mental,emotional and spiritual well being.

Constant burping is usually a symptom of GERD, though it can be caused by stress as well. It can be releived by the following measures:(1) avoiding fatty foods, fried foods, acid foods, citrius drinks, carbonated sodas, tomatoes
(2) using small frequent meals instead of larger meals which would stimulate more acid production
(3) avoiding laying down to close to eating (there should be a two hour window before eating and laying down)
(4) weight loss in the presence of excess weight
(5)avoiding foods that cause bloating and gas like broccoli, beans,brussel sprouts,cabbage,cauliflower, lettuce,some people may also be lactose intolerant and react to some milks and cheese, chewing gum is also normally associated with swallowing excess air unintentionally and may cause symptoms
(6) eat slowly

In terms of stomach cancer the factors which may increase a persons risk of developing this condition include:(1) familly history of this disease
(2) smoking
(3) infection in the stomach with a bacteria called H pylori which is found on blood tests.The blood test is usually done on persons who have symptoms of GERD which is not responding to treatment.This infection is treated with a 10 day or 2 week course of antibiotics
(4)long term inflammation of the stomach
(5) poor diet,obesity- using fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk

Symptoms of stomach cancer are difficulty swallowing,nausea and vomiting (blood may be in the stomach),weight loss ,pain in the stomach.
If you have any of these symptoms then you can consider visiting your doctor for a scope or barium study.If none of these are present then it reduces the likelihood of cancer being present.

I hope this helps,feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Burping, chest pressure, anxiety, hypochondria. Worried about GERD 1 hour later
Thank you for your reply. i have another question, do you think GERD can be caused by stress and anxiety? i burp after every little thing i put in my mouth, including water.... how can i reduce air swallowing when i'm stressed?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 50 minutes later

GERD can certainly be made worse by stress and anxiety, it will not cause it but may make the symptoms worse.
The key would be to deal with the stress and stressors.I know that this is easier than it sounds but if you have things or activities that relax you.
You can speak to your psychiatrist about different modalities of stress reduction such as muscle relaxation and breathing techniques.

I hope this helps
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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