Discover What Causes Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition that makes the acids in the stomach rise up into the esophagus, and has some serious symptoms, including asthma, chest pain, post-meal pain and hoarseness, just to name a few. The origins of word “reflux” date from the Medieval age, meaning “to recede” and in some cases “to flow back” in the latin language.

Facts About Acid Reflux

According to a study conducted last year by a Norwegian team of scientists and doctors, more than 50% of all people around the world have experienced at least once or still experience this condition. Acid reflux, also known as that familiar pain in the chest, is very common among mid-aged men and women. Here are some interesting things you need to know about acid reflux.

– This condition is more common among those over 40 and among overweight people. The scientists proved that as you age, the self-defense mechanism that prevents this condition deteriorate, weakening your defensive system. Moreover, excess weight usually puts an extra pressure on your diaphragm and stomach, opening the esophageal sphincter and allowing all that acid from the stomach move up into the esophagus.

– Alcohol and cigarettes might double the chances of getting acid reflux. The truth is that these two nasty habits relax the lower esophageal sphincter, and consequently they will trigger this condition.

Causes of Acid Reflux

This condition usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES in medical terms) won’t work properly, allowing the acid from the stomach to seep upwards to the esophagus. However, a faulty LES is not the only cause of acid reflux. Some other common causes of this condition are:

– Large meals and unhealthy eating habits. It is imperative to cut down portion sizes if this is the main reason you’re experiencing acid reflux. Another thing you should do is to keep a food diary, in which you can write down everything you eat every day, and the improvements you see in your body after eating less fats and chocolate.

– Obesity. This is another cause of acid reflux that is considered a lifestyle issue. This modern “issues” increases the pressure in your stomach, because of the fat that accumulates in that area. As a consequence, you will soon experience some symptoms of acid reflux, such as nausea and trouble swallowing.

– Bending forward. This weird cause of acid reflux won’t trigger the condition unless associated with another connected cause or problem. It might be another disease or medical condition related to your stomach. Specialists and nutritionists are still working here to discover the real problem behind this cause.

– Pregnancy. During the third semester of the pregnancy, over 50% of all women are prone to acid reflux. Doctors explain that during the growing process, the baby presses the stomach and pushed its content up into the esophagus. Doctors also warns women that antacids, which in other circumstances would definitely be the best choice to treat acid reflux, are useless in this particular case. If you are pregnant and you want to relieve this condition, try to eat smaller meals, but more often. The good news is that either way, this condition will disappear after the baby is born.

– Insufficient digestive enzymes and peptic ulcers. These two situations, when combined, will slow down the digestive process, leading to a huge accumulation of gastric acids that will be released into your esophagus.

– Bisphosphonates. This is a new class of drugs specially created to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Eventually, these drugs might cause esophageal irritation, which later can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. In order to make sure you are not prone to this condition, double check any medication that you want to take long-term.

– Gastroparesis. This disorder is increasingly common today, especially among teenagers. The stomach takes too long to empty, and consequently, the acid will come back into the esophagus. The real problem is that the acid can’t be emptied into the small intestine, because gastroparesis blocks it. The causes of this condition are junk food and a fat-rich diet.

– Hiatal hernia. According to a study conducted by a group of scientists from the Texas A&M Health Science Center and College of Medicine, over 40% of all Americans have hiatal hernia. Even if this condition won’t necessarily cause acid reflux, if it’s more serious, it can cause acid reflux, especially if the patient has a wide area of his stomach affected. As a matter of fact, hiatal hernia range in size from 1 to 5 centimeters. It is preferable to consult a doctor if you have this condition, because only he can tell if you are prone to acid reflux.

– Fluoridated water. Very few people and doctors know that this is a cause of acid reflux. However, a group of scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences from New Delhi just discovered that higher levels of fluoride present in water can lead to excessive acid. In order to avoid that, check your water quality.

– Eating before bed. We all know that the stomach secretes acids with every meal, but not many of us know that from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m, our stomach secretes three times more acid. No one is certain on how this process occurs, but what every doctor agree on is that eating between this interval might contribute to serious nighttime acid reflux problems, especially when this becomes a habit.

How to Treat Acid Reflux

Now, after we’ve studied all the causes of acid reflux, it is important to discover some of the ways to treat it. First of all, a change in your diet can help you treat this condition. While some foods are major triggers of acid reflux, others are safe. There is no specific diet to acid reflux, but there are some foods you should avoid. The list includes: garlic, coffee, black pepper, chilli, pineapple, tea, vinegar, tomatoes and ketchup.

Secondly, you can try taking some medications. The list includes prokinetic agents, proton pump inhibitors, antacids and acid suppressants. Keep in mind that antacids are not recommended for more severe heartburn. In that case, you should consult a specialist.