Causes of Acid Reflux

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The stomach produces enzymes and acids that aid in the process of food digestion. Nausea and heartburn are some of the major symptoms of acid reflux. Many people experience such symptoms occasionally, but in case the problem becomes persistent, then it is considered as an acid reflux disease. This type of disease can cause some damage to the esophagus lining and this might lead to bleeding, cancer or ulcer. In extreme cases, this disease causes sinus, asthma as well as lung and throat infections. The causes of acid reflux usually vary from person to person.

Causes of acid reflux

Esophageal Abnormalities

The valve positioned at the esophagus lower end which regulates the opening into the stomach is referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. It normally opens so as to allow entry of food into the stomach and also stops the back flow of the stomach contents into the esophagus. An abnormality of this valve can possibly cause a reverse flow of the gastric juices back to the esophagus and the throat thereby causing acid reflux. Some food items and drugs are said to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter.

Hiatal Hernia

A horizontal, muscular partition referred to as the diaphragm separates the chest from the abdomen. Lower esophageal sphincter is positioned at a level similar to that of the diaphragm. In some situations, the upper stomach may move to a position above the diaphragm. Generally, the lower esophageal sphincter and the diaphragm jointly work together in resisting the back flow. But this power of resistance is less in people with hiatal hernia because the two organs are situated at different levels. It then results in low power barriers, two in number, replacing the usual one high pressure barrier. This causes acid reflux.

Pregnancy

Many women get affected by this condition while pregnant. The pressure that the growing fetus exerts on the stomach can possibly result in back flow of the contents of the stomach back into the esophagus. The risen level of hormones can also make the lower esophageal sphincter to be weak. Antacid might not be very helpful in such condition, but the disease often disappears after delivery.

Smoking and Gastroparesis

Smoking increases risks of contracting acid reflux disease. Smoking can lead to increase in the acid secretion, damage of the mucous membranes, weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter and reduction of saliva production. Gastroparesis is a situation in which food in the stomach stays for a longer time than usual. It is observable that reflux mostly takes place immediately after eating food. This condition extends the time that food is supposed to be retained in the stomach which aggravates some symptoms of the acid reflux.

Acid Reflux Foods

Some food habits and items trigger the symptoms that are associated with acid reflux. Lying down after taking a heavy food can result in heartburn. Excess consumption of alcohol, mint, tomato, garlic and onions, tea or coffee, spicy foods and the carbonated drinks can cause heartburn, thereby triggering the acid reflux disease.

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