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What Causes Acid Reflux

By Madhusudhan Tammisetti

You know the uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest and neck if you've ever had heartburn. Heartburn is a sign of acid reflux as the acid from your stomach bubbles into your esophagus that ties your stomach to your throat. Your esophagus is much more susceptible than your stomach, which is capable of dealing with the corrosive effects of acid.

If reflux is severe and intense, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, this has to be treated to reduce risks, including a greater chance of esophageal cancer, with dietary improvements such as consuming smaller meals. Reducing extra weight may take care of or even eliminate mild acid reflux on its own. Here are some of the acid reflux condition's most common triggers.

Certain Foods and Drinks May Cause Acid Reflux

Often some people claim that after eating certain foods, they get acid reflux. Common culprits include food high in fat, spicy foods, chocolate, citrusy or acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes, onions, mint, garlic, and carbonated drinks.

It may not be easy to digest these foods as they create excess stomach acid that may end up in the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter, which usually serves as a lid on the stomach, may relax with fatty foods. The lower esophageal sphincter may stop acid backflow from the intestine to the esophagus.

You may avoid the consumption of medications with a certain lifestyle and dietary changes that may help you combat acid reflux symptoms.

Obesity

One of the key factors behind both acid reflux and GERD is obesity. The risk of GERD complications such as Barrett's esophagus, a disease-causing precancerous change in esophageal cells, may also increase.

It's not just excess fat that seems to be increasing the risk. It's core obesity, which means more fat in the middle of the stomach. Excess abdominal fat drives acid into the esophagus that adds weight to the stomach.

Also, hormones may play a role in obesity. People with obesity may have more circulating estrogen, which may be associated with the symptoms of GERD. An elevated risk of acid reflux may also present in postmenopausal women who use hormone therapy.

Studies have shown that losing weight with diet and exercise or bariatric surgery may relieve acid reflux symptoms.

Smoking

Smoking may damage the digestive system just as it causes harm to other parts of the body. Both second-hand smoke and chewing tobacco may lead to reflux by stimulating the lower esophageal sphincter.

Smoking and alcohol consumption may lead to reflux as they weaken protective esophageal functions and reduce the lower esophageal sphincter pressure and acid clearance. Research has shown that stopping drinking alcohol and quitting smoking may enhance reflux.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orlando, Fla.

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