In case you are having that intensive ACID REFLUX feeling of having swallowed a pot full of lava after every meal, chances are high that you too have fallen victim to GERD. Laymen know it much better as acid reflux.
You could continue to grope in the dark for preventive measures, or you can take effective measures with detailed information on what triggers acid reflux. We’re guessing you’d try the latter… 🙂
Medical experts at emedicinehealth enlighten us with valuable information on what is Acid Reflux:.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the esophagus becomes irritated or inflamed because of acid backing up from the stomach. The esophagus or food pipe is the tube stretching from the throat to the stomach. When food is swallowed, it travels down the esophagus.
Let us make it simpler…doctors tell us that our stomach produces hydrochloric acid after every meal to help in the digestion process.
So the facts about acid reflux to note are:
1. The inner lining of the stomach secretes large amounts of protective mucus. This shields the tummy from the corrosive hydrochloric acid.
2. But the esophagus lacks such resistant lining and can fall prey to the corrosive effects of the acid.
3. The word ‘Heartburn’ comes from the position of the esophagus in the human anatomy. The coinage describes the sensation of acid burning your esophagus.
4. The lower esophageal sphincter muscle restricts the reflux of acid.
5. This sphincter relaxes to ingest the food, tightening immediately after to restrict the acid from rebounding.
6. In case of acid reflux, the sphincter muscle relaxes in between swallows and allows the acid to come back up and damage the esophagus.
What makes GERD worse is the fact that it is ‘pervasive’ in every sense of the term…the practitioners at emedicinehealth have this to say…
GERD affects 25%-40% of the adult population of the United States to some degree at some point. About 10% of adults experience GERD weekly or daily. Not just adults are affected; even infants and children can have GERD.
GERD can be a real nuisance!!
So what are the causes that precipitate Acid reflux?
- Malfunctioning Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) Muscles: the muscle that acts as a pressure barrier between the esophagus and the stomach can misbehave at times. When it refuses to work as it should, the corrosive acid in your stomach gets a chance to push back into the esophagus causing acid reflux. Nervous system factors, ingestion of some drugs and beverages can impair the LES muscle.
- Abnormalities in the Esophagus: can cause the feeling of having a constant lump sticking in your throat. This is usually found in people with uncommon GERD symptoms. This usually happens because of a deformity in the esophagus.
- Motility Abnormalities: the movement of food down your food pipe is made possible by a constant contraction and relaxation sequence called peristalsis. But a deformity in the muscles or a problem in hormones and nerves can cause an abnormal motility. This precipitates GERD.
- Impaired Stomach Function: problems in muscles’ contraction and relaxation in the stomach cause motility impairment and that means unnatural peristalsis. This causes acid reflux.
- Hiatal Hernia: is a situation whereby the stomach pushes through the esophageal hiatus or the diaphragmatic hiatus. This is the gap in the diaphragm. Research shows that Hiatal hernia can affect the LES muscles and allow a case of acid reflux.
- Genetic Factors: inherent and inherited muscle or structural problems can affect the esophagus and prepare the groundwork for GERD.
- Asthma: it is believed that the coughing that usually accompanies asthma makes way for reflux, it affects the esophagus. Too much coughing can weaken the esophageal sphincter muscle.
Other than this certain drugs when injected over a long time can precipitate GERD.
Drug usage that increases GERD includes:
- Anticholinergic drug for urinary tract infections
- Calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure
- Theophylline for asthma
Moving on to the foods that cause Acid reflux:
- Fried food
- High fat dairy products
- High fat meals
Now that you are up-to-date with the causes of acid reflux, beware and beat the problem at its roots!!