behavioral routine affect reflux

February 21, 2011

Cause of Reflux

A well functioning digestive tract requires that each component run smoothly. The minute you put food in your mouth, the digestive process begins. Chewing your food alerts the stomach that gastric acid needs to be produced to break foods down into smaller pieces. After food is chewed, you swallow the food, passing it down to your esophagus. The food travels within the esophagus and eventually goes into the stomach. The pathway between the esophagus and stomach is regulated by the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that opens and closes to let food exit the esophagus.

A strong LES is ideal because it tightly closes and prevents stomach acids from escaping into the esophagus. When acid goes into the esophagus, this is considered reflux. A weak LES is the main cause of reflux. Reflux can be induced by many things ranging from anatomical irregularities to unhealthy habits. Learning about the causes of reflux can give you the warning signs to help you prevent the disease.

The food you eat can prompt acid reflux to occur. Foods that are high in fat increase the potential for reflux. Specific foods can trigger reflux. Foods that trigger reflux in you may be harmless in someone else. Common foods that trigger reflux include garlic, onions, caffeine, chocolate and alcohol. Spicy or acidic tasting foods don’t necessarily cause reflux.

Pregnant women have a higher risk of refluxing acid. The development of the fetus causes movement of other organs in order to give the baby enough space. The stomach, in an effort to make room for the ever expanding womb, will move and compress. When that movement is coupled with pressure from the baby, the stomach is vulnerable to having gastric acid escape to the esophagus, causing reflux.

Pain relieving medications can have a negative effect on your digestive system. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are terrible for preventing reflux. These drugs include ibuprofen and aspirin. Surprisingly, taking certain vitamin supplements can promote reflux. Avoid ingesting iron, calcium and potassium tablets.

Obesity can cause reflux. This health condition is characterized by being excessively overweight. Additional weight that presses on the stomach, builds pressure. If the stomach cannot maintain its normal size and pressure, gastric acid can be pushed out through the esophagus and cause irritation and inflammation. Hiatal hernia and diabetes can trigger reflux as well.

Behavioral routine can affect reflux. Smoking tends to make the LES lose strength. If you eat a meal only a few hours before bed, this can allow acid to easily leave the stomach because you are now in a flat position. Lifting things that are heavy and drinking alcohol can generate reflux.

Usual symptoms of reflux are heartburn, dysphagia, nausea, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and hoarseness. There are natural treatments for reflux that take into account specific symptoms. The best way to handle acid reflux is to find out what foods, conditions and habits may be the cause.

For more information on the causes, symptoms and remedies for reflux, visit today.

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