What Are The Main Causes of Acid Reflux?

The actual causes for GERD are not easily known. There may be several causes together which cause the problem. In some cases, GERD is caused due to the overproduction of acid. But this has been very rare. Some of the common causes of GERD are the strength of muscles of the lower oesophagus or lower oesophageal sphincter, slow emptying of the stomach, defective oesophageal contractions and Hiatal hernias.

What Are The Main Causes of Acid Reflux
What Are The Main Causes of Acid Reflux

Lower esophageal sphincter

The lower oesophageal sphincter or LES is often responsible for stopping acid reflux. LES controls the flow between the oesophagus and stomach. It opens to allow the food and closes to block the flow of reflux. When LES becomes weak, there is a possibility of increased reflux. More reflux can enter the oesophagus thus causing the problem. Sometimes weakening of the oesophagus can cause serious medical conditions. LES may be weakened either due to abnormal relaxations or weakened contractions.

When the contractions are weakened, LES fails to prevent the occurrence of reflux. Since LES remains open for a long time, the extended period of relaxation allows reflux to flow into the oesophagus thus causing discomfort and pain. All these abnormalities occur due to weakened muscles of the oesophagus.

Hiatal hernia

The majority of GERD patients also suffer from hiatal hernias, which contributes to reflux.

As of now, the relation between hernias and GERD is not yet clearly understood. But their effects are known. The diaphragm plays an important role in preventing reflux. It works along with LES to minimize the reflux. When a patient is suffering from a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach shifts up into the diaphragm. Due to this, the abdomen is partitioned from the chest. Since a portion of the stomach is pushed to the diaphragm, it is more prone to trap acid hence higher quantity of acid remains close to the lining of the oesophagus. This increases acid reflux and makes the condition even more severe.

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Problems with contraction of oesophagus

The contraction of the oesophagus has much to do with the digestive process. The contraction forces the food into the stomach so as to begin digestion. Problems with contraction of the oesophagus fail to push back reflux to the stomach due to which acid reflux ejects into the oesophagus. Defective contraction can be one of the major causes of acid reflux. This may occur either due to weakened pressure of muscular contractions or due to some bad habits like smoking which accumulate acid in the oesophagus for about five to six hours.

There are various causes and conditions which lead to this uncomfortable condition. Whatever the cause, the level of discomfort is very high. Due to acid reflux, patients feel a burning sensation and pain. Hence it is recommended that you consult a physician whenever you experience any problem and seek medical help. The doctors can analyse and understand your condition better with proper diagnosis and hence can treat you appropriately. Acid reflux when left untreated can cause damage to the oesophagus and may lead to severe complications.

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Stress is the biggest reason

Stress is the biggest reason for GERD and Acid Reflux. Many people go to doctors to seek help and test after tests nothing shows up leaves only one option to look for which is the usual suspect: Stress. Changing your lifestyle and reducing the level of stress in your life will either get rid of your Acid Reflux or minimise the symptoms like heartburn.

Acid Reflux Causes

Though the root causes are often unclear, perhaps the most prevalent acid reflux cause is a poor diet. Acid reflux occurs during digestion, when the stomach churns up acid or refluxes it into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat. So if you eat too many highly acidic foods like tomato sauces and/or fatty, fried foods, the stomach has to process an overabundance of acid. Too much acid can push back through a valve between the stomach and the oesophagus called the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). Acid reflux culprits include but are not limited to tomato-based sauces, fried and fatty foods, chocolate, alcohol, citrus fruits, peppers, and caffeinated beverages.

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Along the same lines as diet, overeating also causes reflux. When you overeat, the stomach can’t keep up with the demand to process all the acids. So food gets backed up, and digestive acids infiltrate the oesophagal valve to cause that unpleasant burning feeling centred in the chest.

Also diet-related, another acid reflux cause is being overweight. There is a clear correlation between being overweight and a notable increase in the occurrence of acid reflux. Many believe this is because the extra weight puts more pressure on the stomach and oesophagus. This pressure has been known to open the lower oesophagal sphincter (oesophagus valve) when the valve should be closed. This allows acid to escape into the oesophagus.

Other factors that create a predisposition for acid reflux include smoking, use of alcohol, food allergies, certain medications, and lying down after meals. As you can tell, most of these factors can be overcome by practising some behavioural modifications. In fact, in many cases of recurrent acid reflux, lifestyle changes are all that is necessary for preventing heartburn from becoming a chronic disease. Remember to consult a physician before embarking on any treatment strategy.

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