It’s not that GERD can cause headaches, but rather, headaches can cause GERD. Now how is this possible?
Well, you’ll be very interested in the reason that headaches can indirectly cause GERD: gastroesophageal reflux disease.
And you will want to aggressively manage gastroesophageal reflux disease, even try to eliminate it, because otherwise, it can lead to Barrett’s esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
But back to how headaches can cause GERD.
“Typically, patients with severe headaches take a series of preparations to remove the pain, and many of these drugs interact with the stomach to cause reduction in the mucus in the stomach that can lead to erosion and to additional GERD symptoms,” explains John P. Geibel, MD, Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine.
“So this is a catch 22; you have a headache and treat it with a variety of drugs, or even taking large amounts of caffeine.
“And then you get GERD due to the hypersecretion of acid and the effects on blood flow and on nerve tone.
“Also with the hypersecretion of acid due to stress leading to GERD, you often also have a headache that is associated with the stress. I guess the real answer is that headaches cause GERD.”
So what’s the solution if you’re stiffed with having to take drugs for your headaches?
Well, let’s look at this from the GERD end of it. Rather than toss in yet another pharmaceutical (proton pump inhibitor) to deal with the acid reflux symptoms, you can try a new product called TummyZen.
TummyZen is formulated from zinc salts, which means it won’t produce the side effects that PPIs often do. It works fast and lasts for hours.
Dr. Geibel has researched the efficacy of zinc salts on the symptoms of acid reflux and highly recommends TummyZen for periodic heartburn — whether it’s caused by stress, food or headache drugs. TummyZen is available online and also at Target.