ACID REFLUX

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Acid Reflux Causes

Identifying And Avoiding Acid Reflux Causes

Whether you call it acid reflux, GARD, GERD, or just plain heartburn, knowing the causes of your acid reflux symptoms can help you avoid or alleviate them.

Foods That Cause Acid Reflux

The most common cause of acid reflux disease is found in the diet.

Certain foods trigger acid production in most people.

Examples of food and beverages that can cause acid reflux are:

  • caffeinated beverages, like coffee, tea, and soft drinks containing caffeine;
  • chocolate, which contains a compound that relaxes the esophageal muscle and permits acid to squirt back up into the esophagus;
  • fried foods and foods with a high fat content, which slow down the digestive process;
  • onions, garlic, and spicy foods, which can contribute to acid reflux; and
  • citrus fruit juice, citrus fruit, and tomatoes, which are acidic.

By avoiding these trigger foods, most people can avoid many of the symptoms of acid reflux.

Behavior That Causes Acid Reflux

Just as certain foods can cause acid reflux, there are behaviors that either cause acid reflux or exacerbate the condition. Try to avoid the following activities:

  • eating very large meals, which puts pressure on the lower esophageal muscle and increases the occurrence of acid backup;
  • smoking cigarettes;
  • eating too close to bedtime (acid reflux sufferers should stop eating at least three hours before going to bed); and
  • wearing clothes that are too tight.

If you exhibit one or more of these activities, you might expect to have problems with acid reflux.

Physical Conditions that Cause Acid Reflux

Regardless of what triggers acid reflux to occur, the cause of acid reflux is the same: stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. The backup occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which holds acid in place, relaxes. The relaxation of the LES can be triggered by food, behavior, or other physical conditions.

These conditions are:

  • pregnancy, which can be a major cause of acid reflux; and
  • hiatal hernia, which affects the operation of the diaphragm.

Treatment For Acid Reflux

Whatever the cause, acid reflux can be a serious disorder that requires medical attention. Delaying treatment can lead to permanent damage of the esophagus, so patients suffering from acid reflux should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

In addition to changing problem behaviors that may be causing acid reflux and cutting out the food and beverages that trigger the backup of acid into the esophagus, patients can often take a prescription medication or over the counter pill that will ease the symptoms of acid reflux. Most patients report immediate relief once they start a course of medication.

 

 

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