What Exactly is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is when the stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which causes that heartburn feeling and sometime nausea.  Many people have different symptoms such as a burning sensation in the back of the throat and chest pains that make you think you are having a heart attack.

There are over 60 million people that are affected by acid reflux and many of them have it on a daily basis!

What causes this to happen?  The heartburn, which is a symptom of acid reflux, is caused by the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows the stomach acid to leak through the esophagus and back up to your throat, causing that horrible feeling.

Acid reflux may be the result of many different things such as smoking, as nicotine may cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax to the point of allowing stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.  Alcohol also can create that same scenario in relaxing the LES.

A 2005 study of late evening eating, less than 3 hours before bedtime, had significantly increased your susceptibility to experience acid reflux.  As recently as 2011 another study determined that acid reflux cases had doubled in the previous 10 years, noting that this rise in acid reflux runs parallel to the number of obese patients.  Watch your weight!

There are other conditions that may be a factor in acid reflux such as a hiatal hernia, where a portion of the stomach pushes through the hiatus.  When the hernia becomes large enough, it could cause acid and food to re-enter the esophagus, causing reflux.  This could possibly require surgery.

Diet can be of major help if you are suffering from acid reflux and you should be having a cup of ginger tea daily along with vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower are very important.  Yogurt is also a strong recommendation to promote gut health.  Fruits are also very helpful as long as they are not citrus.  Stay away from oranges, pineapples and grapefruit!

We would suggest avoiding chocolate simply because its’ relaxing effect may cause LES.  You should also consider dropping fried foods, along with spicy and fatty foods.  You should avoid caffeinated beverages, such as tea, coffee and soda.  These could also cause LES issues.  (Ginger tea is still a big yes) and please consider removing alcohol from your diet, as it alone is the most dangerous cause of acid reflux according to many studies.

To your health!


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