Acid reflux disease is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It is a kind of disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, which controls the flow of gastric acid into the stomach.
The LES lies between the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine, but the presence of food changes the position of the LES. When food enters the stomach, a valve located at the lower part of the LES opens. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the LES and push food back down the esophagus.
The location of the valve is referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. This structure is composed of muscle, ligaments, and a hinge joint that allows it to hinge outward from the lower esophageal sphincter. In the case of acid reflux, this sphincter does not function properly because the lower part of the sphincter slips into its normal position.
There are many causes of acid reflux. The most common is the increase in acid in the stomach, especially the presence of unhealthy food. The eating of food that is more acid-forming than the body’s stomach acids is also one of the causes of acid reflux. Changes in the composition of foods and the amount of food eaten can also cause acid reflux.
Though not common, there are some minor factors that can contribute to the development of this disease. These include:
Certain drugs, especially the drugs used to treat ulcers and heartburn, can contribute to the development of reflux disease. These drugs are also one of the reasons why you need to avoid eating too much at one time.
Being overweight can put you at risk of developing acid reflux. Overweight individuals have a higher percentage of acid in their stomachs, which makes the reflux more severe.
Smoking is also a cause of reflux disease since smoking burns off fat in the mouth and esophagus. The excess acid that accumulates in the mouth and esophagus increases the rate of acid reflux.
Using laxatives in addition to taking drugs to control the symptoms of acid reflux can also contribute to the condition. In addition, doing abdominal exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and swimming can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing acid to leak back up into the esophagus.
Avoiding foods that cause reflux or putting it off until your next meal can also help. Reducing your intake of acid-forming foods, especially the foods that you normally eat, will decrease the effects of your reflux. To help you stay away from foods that are often made up of high levels of acid, try these foods to get rid of your acid reflux problems: meat, fish, beans, and citrus fruits.
If you suffer from acid reflux symptoms, the best thing you can do is to find the root cause of your condition. Then, you can deal with the problem by identifying the foods that are causing your symptoms and eating the healthy foods that you should be eating.