There are several causes of burning in the throat and chest because through this part of the body pass:
- Oxygen and carbon dioxide in the organs of respiration,
- Foods in the esophagus .
Other disorders can cause burning, even if they are not related to digestion and breathing.
Fortunately, there are effective therapies and remedies to cure the diseases that cause the burn.
Causes of burning in the throat and chest
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
The Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when stomach acid back into the esophagus.
The cause is a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter , that is, a muscle valve that:
- It allows food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach ,
- It blocks the return to the esophagus.
If this structure does not close properly, the food and fluid contained in the stomach may rise to the throat and mouth.
The stomach contents are acidic:
- For gastric cells is not a problem because they are defended by a layer of mucus,
- The cells of the esophagus, larynx and pharynx are not accustomed nor prepared to come into contact with acidic liquids.
According to a study by Pearson J., Parikh S., Orlando R., Johnston N., Allen J., Tinling S., et al. (2011) Review article: reflux and its consequences-the laryngeal, pulmonary and oesophageal manifestations , people suffering from acid reflux have a chemical irritation of the throat and may develop some lesions on the mucosa.
In addition to acids, there are other substances that can damage the mucosa of the organs that make up the throat:
- Proteolytic enzymes (which serve to break down proteins ),
- Bile salts (which favor the breakdown of fats ).
Some symptoms of this disease are:
- Irritation in the throat and heartburn in the stomach after eating,
- Pain and heartburn in the chest in the central area (behind the sternum),
- Dry cough ,
- Bitter mouth ,
- Nausea .
The burning and other symptoms mostly occur in the afternoon and evening.
The esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus that is due to many factors such as:
- Infections ,
- Anti-inflammatory drugs ,
- Side effects of surgery (intubation),
- Gastroesophageal reflux,
- Side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
In most cases, it presents as a complication of acid reflux.
In addition to throat irritation, it causes symptoms such as:
- Pain in the chest (behind the sternum),
- Pain during swallowing,
- Nausea ,
- Loss of appetite ,
- Vomiting ,
The anxiety can cause emotional symptoms, but often also manifests on the physical level.
The exact origin of anxiety has not yet been discovered, but researchers believe that the symptoms of anxiety are due to a dysfunction of the central nervous system .
In the central nervous system, the main mediators (neurotransmitters or chemicals released by the cells when they are stimulated) that cause the anxiety disorders appear to be:
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Physical and emotional manifestations are the result of increased excitation of the sympathetic nervous system at various levels.
Based on the most accredited hypotheses occurs:
- An inactivation of the serotoninergic system (neurons that synthesize serotonin),
- Excessive activation of the noradrenergic system (neurons that synthesize noradrenaline).
These systems regulate and are regulated by other neural circuits in other regions of the brain, including limbic structures.
The limbic system includes several brain structures and has some basic functions in managing:
- Short-term memory ,
The consequence of anomalous regulation of neuronal activity causes emotional changes and physical symptoms.
The positive response of anxiety disorders to benzodiazepine (selective nervous system depressants) indicates a dysfunction of the nervous system in which gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) works.
Studies also show a role for corticosteroids in the onset of symptoms such as fear and anxiety.
Corticosteroids may increase or decrease the activity of some neural circuits by influencing behavior under stress , but also the brain processing of stimuli that induce fear.
Although genetic predisposition is probably a risk factor for anxiety ( Hettema J, Prescott C, Meyers J, et al: The Structure of Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders in Males and Females of Arch Gen Psychiatry., 62: 182-189 ), environmental stressors favor the development of anxiety in several ways.
Burning sensation in the throat during pregnancy
The burning of the throat during pregnancy is a common symptom for many women, especially in the first months of pregnancy .
Often, the causes are:
- Nausea and vomiting caused by hormones ;
- Gastroesophageal reflux : uptake of stomach acids into the esophagus due to relaxation of the gastroesophageal sphincter (because of female hormones and, in particular, progesterone);
- Viral and bacterial infections .
In pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is not depressed (it is not weaker).
However, changes that occur in a woman’s body may favor some infections, especially vaginal and urinary infections .
Treatment for burning throat and chest and natural remedies
Treatment depends on the cause. There are medicines and natural remedies, and also healthy eating is important to reduce symptoms
The treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease includes:
- Antacid medications,
- Inhibitors of the proton pump.
Since reflux occurs mainly at night in the lying position, it is advised:
- Avoid heavy meals after 5:00 p.m.
- During dinner, protein foods should be avoided because the body needs 4-6 hours to digest the proteins (especially the meat) and therefore the stomach can still be full when the person goes to sleep,
- Eat mostly fruits and vegetables at dinner. It is also best to avoid combinations of incorrect foods, such as carbohydrates and proteins (eg rice and beans) that prolong digestion,
- Do not drink at the end of the meal because the water slows digestion and dilates the stomach.
For anxiety , the doctor usually prescribes antidepressant or anxiolytic medications.
However, there are natural remedies that can give excellent results.
Research on depression, anxiety, and exercise shows the physical and psychological benefits of physical activity.
Exercise also improves mood.
Physical activity reduces stress because:
- It causes the release of endorphins, ie chemicals in the brain that give a sense of well-being,
- The mind becomes distracted.
To have good results,
- Adults and the elderly should walk at least 30/40 minutes a day,
- Young people should do more challenging exercises, for example half an hour of running, three times a week.