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What Causes Acid Reflux?

stressed girl suffering from acid reflux

November 23, 2019

Acid reflux is a common condition that causes burning pain in the chest area, known as heartburn. Where your stomach and esophagus meet there’s a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter. Normally, this muscle closes as soon as food and liquids pass into the stomach.

If this ring of muscle doesn’t close all the way or opens when it’s not supposed to, acid from your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This can cause acid reflux symptoms.

Occasional heartburn is very common. But, if you have heartburn twice or more per week plus other symptoms, like regurgitation of sour liquid or food, trouble swallowing, or coughing, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more severe form of acid reflux.

Ayurvedic supplements for acid reflux may help reduce your symptoms.

Risk Factors for Acid Reflux

Certain things increase your risk for getting occasional heartburn or developing acid reflux disease, including: 

  • Being overweight or having obesity
  • Eating a meal or snacking close to bedtime, or lying down right after a meal
  • Eating certain foods, including citrus, tomato, chocolate, coffee, mint, garlic, onions, and spicy or fatty foods
  • Drinking coffee, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
  • Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or certain blood pressure medications

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Millions of people have acid reflux. But what really causes it?

One common cause, a hiatal hernia, is anatomical. It happens when the upper part of the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter moves above the diaphragm muscle, which normally keeps acid in your stomach. When you have a hiatal hernia, acid can rise into your esophagus, causing heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.

There are other theories about what might cause acid reflux. One is that an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine creates excess gas, which puts pressure on the small intestines and stomach. This extra pressure can push acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

Over the counter antacids and proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, reduce the amount of stomach acid your body produces, which can lead to bacterial growth.

Making Lifestyle Changes May Improve Your Symptoms

Woman refuse junk food or fast food

The science isn’t settled about whether bacterial overgrowth causes acid reflux. For now, the best way to deal with heartburn is to make lifestyle changes, including avoiding foods that cause acid reflux. These include:

  • Tomato and tomato juice
  • Chocolate
  • Mint
  • Onions and garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods and fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and tea
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus
  • Pineapple

Talk to your doctor if you take antibiotics, aspirin or ibuprofen, nitrates, blood pressure medications, and alpha-blockers, which may contribute to acid reflux symptoms.

Acid reflux is uncomfortable but making lifestyle changes can help. Losing weight and adopting an acid reflux diet may help improve your symptoms. Also take good care of your digestive system with a high-quality digestive health supplement.

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