Burning sensation in the throat and chest

There are several causes of burning in the throat and chest, because here:

  • oxygen and carbon dioxide enter the respiratory organs,
  • the food enters the esophagus.

There are other disorders that may be responsible for burning, even if they have nothing to do with digestion and breathing.
Fortunately, there are effective therapies and natural remedies to treat the diseases that cause the burning.


Causes of burning in the throat and chest

Reflux disease (gastroesophageal reflux)
Gastroesophageal reflux means the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

The cause is a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter; this closing mechanism between the stomach and the esophagus:

  • allows food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach,
  • blocks reflux into the esophagus.

If this structure does not close completely, the food and fluids in the stomach can rise into the throat and mouth.

The contents of the stomach are acidic:

  • This is not a problem for the stomach cells, as they are protected by a layer of mucus.
  • However, the cells of the esophagus, larynx and throat are not accustomed to contact with acidic liquids and are not prepared for it.

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, there is chemical irritation in the throat in people with acid reflux and injuries to the mucosa may develop.

In addition to acids, there are other substances that can damage the mucous membrane of the organs located in the throat:

  • proteolytic enzymes (used for protein cleavage),
  • Bile salts (favor the cleavage of fats).

The symptomatology of this disease includes:

  • throat irritation and stomach burning after eating,
  • pain and burning in the middle chest area (behind the sternum),
  • dry cough
  • a bitter taste in the mouth,
  • Nausea.

The burning and other symptoms are especially noticeable in the evening and at night.

Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis)
Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus, which can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Infections
  • taking anti-inflammatory drugs,
  • concomitant symptoms of surgical interventions (intubation),
  • gastroesophageal reflux,
  • Side effects of radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

In most cases, it arises as a complication of gastric acid reflux.
In addition to strep throat, symptoms are noticeable, such as:

  • chest pain (behind the sternum),
  • pain when swallowing,
  • Nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Vomit.

Anxiety can cause emotional symptoms, but it is often felt on a physical level.
The exact cause of anxiety has not yet been discovered, but researchers believe that anxiety symptoms are due to dysfunction of the central nervous system.
In the central nervous system, the following mediators (neurotransmitters or chemical substances released by cells as a result of stimulation) seem to be mainly responsible for anxiety complaints:

  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
  • γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

The physical and emotional manifestations are the result of increased arousal of the sympathetic nervous system at various levels.
According to the most credible hypotheses, this means:

  • inactivation of the serotonin system (neurons that synthesize serotonin),
  • excessive activation of the norepinephrine system (neurons that synthesize norepinephrine).

These systems regulate and are regulated by other neuronal circuits in other brain regions, including limbic structures.

The limbic system comprises various brain structures and has some basic functions in the following areas:

  1. Behaviour
  2. Short
  3. emotional life,
  4. Smell perception.

The result of impaired neuron activity is emotional changes and physical symptoms.
The positive response of anxiety symptoms to treatment with benzodiazepines (psychoactive substances) shows a dysfunction of the nervous system, where γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) acts.

The studies also point to the role of corticosteroids in the onset of symptoms such as anxiety and restlessness. Corticosteroids can increase or decrease the activity of some neural systems and influence behavior under stress, but also the cerebral processing of anxiety-inducing stimuli.

Although it is likely that genetic predisposition is a risk factor (Hettema J, Prescott C, Meyers J, et al: The structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for anxiety disorders in men and women. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005, 62: 182-189), the environmental stressors favor the development of anxiety in various ways.

Burning in the throat during pregnancy

Burning throat in pregnancy is a symptom that occurs in many expectant mothers, especially in the first months of pregnancy.
Common causes include:

  • nausea and vomiting, hormone-related,
  • gastroesophageal reflux: reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus due to dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (due to female hormones, especially progesterone),
  • viral and bacterial infections.

During pregnancy, the woman’s immune system is not weakened.
Nevertheless, the changes that take place in the female body can promote infections, especially of the vagina and urinary tract.

Burning in throat and chest and natural remedies

Treatment depends on the cause; there are medicines and natural remedies, but a healthy diet is also important to relieve symptoms.

Reflux disease is treated with:

  • medicines to neutralise gastric acid (antacids),
  • proton pump inhibitors.

Since reflux occurs mainly at night while lying down, the following recommendations should be followed:

  • Do not take heavy meals after 17 p.m.
  • At dinner, protein foods should be avoided because the body needs 4-6 hours to digest proteins (especially meat) and the stomach is probably still full when you go to bed.
  • For dinner, eat mainly fruits and vegetables, and avoid incorrect food combinations, such as carbohydrates and proteins (e.g. rice and beans), which slow down digestion.
  • Do not drink anything at the end of the meal, because this would slow down digestion and widen the stomach.

For anxiety, the doctor usually prescribes antidepressants and anxiolytics (anxiety relievers).
But there are also natural remedies that can show excellent results.
Research on depression, anxiety and physical activity shows that exercise has positive effects on the body and mind.
Sport also improves mood.

Physical training reduces stress because:

  • it leads to the release of endorphins, which are chemical substances in the brain that cause a feeling of well-being.
  • it distracts from problems.

To achieve good results, you must:

  • adults and the elderly walk at least 30-40 minutes a day;
  • younger people choose more intense activities, such as walking for half an hour three times a week.

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