September 9, 2011

Causes For Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, more commonly known as heartburn, is a painful and pesky problem that affects millions of Americans. Although it is not a serious disease, it is annoying and gets in the way of social activities, work and even sleep. There are several causes of acid reflux, which is most commonly caused by food. But there are other, more serious causes too and if you experience acid reflux very often, consult your physician.

1. Food- acid reflux is most commonly caused by eating spicy food, especially late at night without leaving ample time for the food to digest. When you sleep, remnants of this food can back up into the lower esophagus causing a painful burning sensation in the chest. To counter this, eat spicy foods earlier in the day and pair it with a dairy product, like milk or yogurt, which counteract the effects of the spices. Also, over-the-counter medications such as Maalox, TUMS or Pepto Bismol can give some relief. Other foods that commonly contribute to acid reflux include alcohol, any strong flavors like onion or garlic, soda, coffee and other caffeinated beverages, citrus fruits and tomato-based foods and fried foods.

2. Hiatal Hernia- this is a stomach abnormality in which the stomach and lower esophagus move around within the chest cavity. This can cause acid to back up into the sensitive esophagus and cause the characteristic burning sensation.

3. Pregnancy- increased pressure on the stomach and lower abdominal area can cause acid to back up into the esophagus. The higher levels of hormones can also add to the condition.

4. Smoking- inhaling smoke and other harsh chemicals can eat away at the protective mucous lining of the esophagus, increasing its sensitivity to acid and irritation.

5. Loose esophageal sphincter- there is a muscular gate that connects the esophagus to the stomach to allow the passage of food. In normal individuals, this gate only allows for one-way passage and then closes tightly so that food does not back up. In individuals who suffer from acid reflux, this sphincter is not as tight as it should be and allows food and acid to reverse direction and enter the esophagus. In some cases, corrective surgery is needed to reverse this problem and tighten the sphincter.

6. Laying down or going to sleep too soon after eating- you should allow at least thirty to forty-five minutes for digestion after eating before laying down or going to sleep if you are prone to experiencing acid reflux. Sit up straight and allow gravity to work to keep food and acid in the stomach.

7. Not drinking enough water after a meal- saliva is a natural digestive and is needed to begin and continue the process of digestion. If a person is dehydrated, however, this decreases the production of saliva and can slow the digestive process down, increasing the chances of acid reflux. Be sure to drink a glass of water after a meal, and maybe two if it was a spicy meal.

There are several acid reflux triggers. The trick is to find your triggers and avoid them at all cost. For more information on acid reflux triggers visit Reflux Remedy at today!

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