Why Do I Have Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is caused when the excess acid in the stomach flows up to the oesophagus. The upper part of the stomach and the chest is separated by a diaphragm. When the food enters the stomach and acid is released to carry out the process of digestion, the diaphragm remains closed separating the chest and the stomach. Due to pressure when the diaphragm opens and the acid in the stomach flows to the oesophagus causing burning sensation, the situation is referred as acid reflux. The usual symptoms are heart burn, gas and bloating.

Why Do I Have Acid Reflux?

There can be several factors which may lead you to developing acid reflux. Some of the factors are:

Why Do I Have Acid Reflux?

  • Regular eating of heavy, large meals.
  • Everyday lying down immediately after having a large meal or being over your back and waist.
  • Obesity
  • Regularly eating processed snack immediately before bedtime.
  • Regular intake of aerated and carbonated drinks, alcohol, coffee and tea.
  • Regular intake of medications like aspirin which relaxes the muscles or controls the blood pressure.

One of the main causes of developing acid reflux is you having hiatal hernia, a stomach abnormality which pushes the wall of the stomach and the LES above the diaphragm. Due to this, the diaphragm cannot remain closed and the acid flows easily from the stomach to the oesophagus.

During pregnancy, the hormone levels keep on shifting which causes the diaphragm to function improperly. Also the pressure from the foetus causes similar actions leading to acid reflux especially during the third trimester. This may go away after child birth.

Smoking not only increases the acid secretion but also harms the muscles movements by disturbing the relaxing procedure of the throat muscles. The mucus membranes can get damaged, the LES muscles function gets impaired. Even salivation which neutralises some of the acid from the foods reduces. All these lead to you developing acid reflux in within the body.

When fried and fatty food is eaten, the LES muscles start to relax and function slower the optimum speed therefore causing acid reflux to occur. Foods like French fries, onion rings, fat dairy products, beef, lamb, ham and bacon fat, desserts, cream and sauces when consumed daily may even lead to GERD. Chocolate contain methyl xanthine which again relaxes the LES muscles causing acid reflux.

If you are already suffering from acid reflux, fruits and vegetables with low pH level like tomatoes, chilli, lemons, lime and salsa should be avoided from your diet. Heartburn which is one of the most prevalent symptoms of acid reflux is easily caused by spices and tangy foods. Everybody does not suffer from the symptoms of acid reflux due to these foods but too much of onion and garlic may bother you. Caffeine and mint trigger acid reflux too.

How to Prevent Acid Reflux?

One of the best ways to preventing acid reflux is by taking in fibre. Fibrous food also reduces the chances of developing a high cholesterol level, prevents blood sugar level to rise and prevents most bowel syndromes to occur. Before including alkaline and fibrous food in your daily diet you must consult a doctor since certain food which can be helpful for a person suffering from acid reflux may lead to the cause of acid reflux in you.

Few of the habits that you can adopt to prevent or reduce acid reflux:

  • While you are on any kind of medication, take in antacids so that the acid production is lowered.
  • Have chewing gum which is not mint flavoured.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol to prevent acid reflux.
  • When you are facing any symptoms of acid reflux, raise to head to about 4 to 6 inches from the body level.
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 29, 2017

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