gastrointestinal disease

February 11, 2011

Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease

Developing a digestive disease can take a toll on your body. Since digestion is needed to sustain life, any problems in this area can have an overwhelming impact. Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) is a common type of digestive disease. GERD should not be taken lightly. Contracting GERD directly correlates with the status of the lower esophageal sphincter. A malfunctioning LES greatly contributes to the development of GERD. The LES is an important part of the esophagus and can be found at the bottom near the stomach. The LES helps two digestive organs to link and work together, the stomach and esophagus. For food to get to the stomach for digestion, the LES has to open for passage. Normally, the LES will close tightly after the food has entered, but in some cases, it does not. This kind of LES can be classified as weak.

Having a weak LES is problematic because stomach acid has no barrier that stops it from getting into the esophagus. Stomach acid bounces around the stomach and is particularly mobile when you lie down and bend over. When you stand erect, the stomach acid will remain relatively in place even with a weakened LES. Once you become vertical or move about, this is when the acid can splash within the esophagus and even reach the mouth.

To prevent GERD, you should try to do three main things.

1) Regulate the development of gastric acids.

GERD may affect you because of the accumulation of a large quantity of gastric acid in your stomach. This makes it easier for acid to escape. There are things you can do to stop gastric acids from being excessively produced. To reduce production of acid, try to eat smaller meals more frequently. Larger meals require more acid. Papaya has an enzyme that is a natural digestive aid. Eating papaya can help the stomach to break down foods without need for as much acid. If you have diabetes, the way your body digests foods can complicate GERD. You may be able to rid yourself of diabetes with diet and exercise.

2) Keep the lower esophageal sphincter strong.

Lifestyle behaviors can weaken the LES. Smoking and drinking alcohol are not good for strengthening the LES. Smoking and drinking exposes the esophagus to toxins that make it weak. Don’t eat foods that trigger reflux. Fatty foods, garlic, onion and caffeine are common causes of reflux.

3) Help the lower esophageal sphincter.

Conditions like obesity and hiatal hernia contribute to GERD. Carrying abnormal fat deposits around the stomach puts pressure on this organ. The stomach may not be able to occupy its normal space because of obesity. A stomach under pressure will likely expel gastric acid to the esophagus. Do your part by eating right and working out. Hiatal hernia is what happens when the stomach and LES move above or beside the diaphragm. This awkward position makes GERD possible. Although hereditary for some, risk factors for hiatal hernia include lifting heavy items, smoking and drug use.

If you would like to learn more about GERD, visit www/ for more information.

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