Chronic Acid Reflux

April 7, 2011

Chronic Acid Reflux

Chronic acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition that primarily affects the stomach and the esophagus. Chronic acid reflux disease is a result of an improperly functioning lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle. This muscle is located at the top of the stomach and at the bottom of the esophagus. The sole purpose of this muscle is to act as a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus protecting both from potential hazards. Mechanically, food travels from the mouth, down the esophagus in hopes of smoothly transition to the stomach. When food is traveling down the esophagus the LES opens up allowing the food to travel into the stomach and the muscle closes immediately after the food passes through.

When the LES malfunctions the muscle isn’t properly closing after food passes or it is opening too frequently. The open LES allows for stomach acids to leak up into the esophagus causing what is known as heartburn or acid reflux. If this happens occasionally, there is no need to be alarmed as your acid reflux is not chronic. If this heartburn happens two or more times a week you are likely suffering from chronic acid reflux. If not properly tended to, chronic acid reflux disease has been known to cause more serious health conditions.

It is not really clear as to why some people suffer from chronic acid reflux while others never seem to have a problem. Many speculate that a hiatal hernia is a great contributing factor. A hiatal hernia is a stomach abnormality that occurs when the LES and the upper part of the stomach move above the diaphragm. A major function of the diaphragm is to serve as the muscle that helps keep acids in your stomach. If you are suffering from a hiatal hernia the acids in your stomach acids can move up into your esophagus causing acid reflux symptoms.

There are many other factors that can lead to chronic acid reflux. Most of these factors are related to your daily diet. There are certain foods and drinks that can trigger acid reflux in those that are prone to the condition. If you are likely to drink soda, coffee or other caffeinated drinks you may want to eliminate these drinks and opt instead for a glass of water. Drinking water before, during and after meals works wonders for aiding in the digestive process. It also soothers the esophagus if you are experiencing heartburn.

Fried and fatty foods, though tasty, can be extremely hazardous not only in terms of acid reflux, but also in terms of health. Try eating healthy and see if your chronic acid reflux persists. Salads, vegetables and hearty fruits are always great alternatives.

See if you can eliminate bad habits. If you are a smoker, stop. If you notice that you are an overeater or that you are overweight, do what you can to control portions and lose weight. Eating smaller portions several times a day should ultimately help.

Make the necessary changes to nip your chronic acid reflux in the bud. Your health will thank you for it.

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