What Causes Acid Reflux? A Quick Overview of Causes and Treatments

Encountering a sour taste after eating that tasty spicy chicken pizza is somewhat common. But what if this condition is a persistent thing? Adding to this, most of the times you find the fragments of food being thrown back into your mouth every time you burp. Well, then you may be suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux issues or in simple words an acid reflux. But what causes acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter ( LES ) isn’t able to withhold the back flow of the gut acid and other stomach contents into the esophagus. Normally the lower sphincter in the esophagus functions like a valve that prevents acidic juices and other stomach contents from back flowing. The valve only allows food material to pass from the esophagus to the stomach. If this sphincter is not functioning properly then this is exactly what causes acid reflux as the acidic juices pass through the esophagus. The other systematic name for acidic reflux is GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux.

There are numerous factors that will trigger this condition in an individual. Diet is one of them. Since acid reflux is a stomach related ailment, whatever that goes through the food pipe and enters the stomach is definitely going to create an acid reflux. The junk food trend that’s gaining a lot of significance in the urban nutritional patterns is primarily what causes acid reflux. Junk food has low nutritional levels and fiber content; it is also very spicy and oily. Spicy and oily food triggers acid reflux in most cases. Similarly, drinking juices of citric fruits and colas is also widely known as the cause of acid reflux.

Caffeinated drinks bring about immediate acid reflux.

Here are some of the contributing factors that function as the root cause of acid reflux.

1. Different foods have different effects on people. It is best to avoid food items which are unhealthy and have low fiber content. These include alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, chocolate, greasy foods, dairy items and fruit juices.

2. Smoking is also one unhealthy habit. Smokers produce lesser saliva than the nonsmokers. Saliva is composed of bicarbonate that neutralizes the stomach acids. Smoking also loosens the LES muscles. This heightens the chances of suffering with an acid reflux.

3. Eating too much can cause heartburn. The acid produced to break down the surplus food and some of it gets into the foodpipe. Also, eating large quantities of food before sleeping isn’t good. It’s best to keep the head over a raised pillow when trying to catch up with some sleep.

4. The clothing you wear is also a significant answer to what causes acid reflux. Wearing very tight clothes around the waist puts a lot of extra pressure on the stomach and pushes the content up towards the esophagus.

5. Give your body at least two hours to digest the food properly. Never lie down straight after eating a proper meal. Eat small portions for every meal. Obesity or overweight people, also have higher chances of suffering with abdominal pressure. If you’re oversized then cut back on the amount of food that you eat. Exercise daily so that it helps you to reduce weight.

6. Never eat while you are feeling nervous or anxious. Eat only after you’re feeling better.

7. Consumption of alcohol or alcoholic drinks is also said to be one of the factors behind acid reflux. Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter thus letting the acidic juices move into the esophagus. Excess of alcohol consumption can cause irritation in the mucous surface of the esophagus, therefore inducing GERD.

8. Next, avoid drinking water while having food. Too much of water can mix with the acid in the stomach. The best way to avoid this is by drinking a glass of water half an hour prior to consuming a meal, and consuming just a little quantity when eating the meal. After one or two hours post eating a meal, feel free to guzzle down all the water you want.

9. Other foods items that can result in acid reflux include fruits such as lemons, lime, tomatoes, grapefruits and oranges.

10. Chocolate has a high acid content and causes acid reflux.

11. Fried items like French fries, fried chicken, corn chips, potato chips, should be avoided.

12. Packaged food can cause acid reflux also meat items which are loaded with fat should not be consumed.

13. Some spices can cause heartburn. For instance Peppers and chili peppers can irritate the lining of the food pipe.

14. Obesity or being overweight can trigger acid reflux. Usually more fat around the stomach region means more pressure over the stomach area, which pushes the acidic juices upwards into the esophagus and leads to GERD. Pregnancy is also a very common condition when chances of acid reflux increase.

15. Hiatus hernia is another reason for GERD. In this condition the diaphragm which separates the chest from the stomach has a tiny hole called Hiatus. Sometimes the hiatus may grow or become weak. This will allow the stomach to stick out into the chest causing disruption in the functioning of LES, therefore leading to acid reflux.

Acid reflux is typically a minor issue and everyone might have suffered from it once in a while. Nonetheless the symptoms connected with it are very discomforting and affect one’s standard way of life. If proper care isn’t taken then this stomach related ailment can turn bothersome and may result in the damage of the mucus lining in the esophagus.

Here is a brief overview of what causes acid reflux and how it can be treated- In order to treat this problem naturally, proper management must be undertaken to improve the way of life, which cause acid reflux. If someone is obese, he must try to lose weight first. Patient must stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Patients also need to lower the intake of the foodstuff / drinks as mentioned above. All heavy meals should be consumed at least two hours prior to sleeping and even when lying down one must use a pillow that raises the head by 4-5 inches. Patients must avoid wearing tight clothes or belts.