GERD

Acid Reflux in Depth

About 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. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid after a meal to aid in the digestion of food. •The inner lining of the stomach resists corrosion by this acid. The cells that line the stomach secrete large amounts of protective mucus. •The lining of the esophagus does not share these resistant features and stomach acid can damage it. •The esophagus lies just behind the heart, so the term heartburn was coined to describe the sensation of acid burning the esophagus. Normally, a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, prevents reflux (or backing up) of acid. •This sphincter relaxes during swallowing to allow food to pass. It then tightens to prevent flow in the opposite direction. •With GERD, however, the sphincter relaxes between swallows, allowing stomach contents and corrosive acid to well up and damage the lining of the esophagus. GERD affects 25% to 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.   Acid Reflux (GERD) Causes No one knows the exact cause of gastroesophageal reflux. The following are contributing factors that weaken or relax the lower esophageal sphincter, making reflux worse: •Lifestyle: Use of alcohol or cigarettes, obesity, poor posture (slouching) •Medications: Calcium channel blockers, theophylline (Tedral, Hydrophed, Marax, Bronchial, Quibron), nitrates, antihistamines • Diet: Fatty and fried foods, chocolate, garlic and onions, drinks with caffeine, […]
By |November 21st, 2013|Indigestion|0 Comments

Causes of GERD

Fried food, alcohol, caffeine, and soda can all trigger reflux. Spicy, tomato-based or citrus foods may also cause problems for some people. Smoking also increases the risk of reflux. Being overweight and having your belly fat push up on your stomach can prevent it from emptying, triggering reflux. Having a hiatal hernia (where your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm) can also cause trouble and can be diagnosed by x-ray. Eating large meals and eating before bed are two other main reasons for reflux. These are the most obvious causes, and the ones you have probably heard about. However, there are a few more that bear mentioning. Stress contributes to reflux. Clearly, food is supposed to go down, not up, when you eat. That’s why there are two main valves, or sphincters, that control food going in and out of your stomach — the one at the top (or the lower esophageal sphincter) and one at the bottom (the pyloric valve). When you’re stressed, the valve on the top relaxes and the valve on the bottom tightens up. This may result in food traveling back up your esophagus. Practice active relaxation and you mitigate this problem. Magnesium deficiency is another cause of reflux because magnesium helps the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach relax, allowing the food to go down. Food sensitivities or allergies can also cause reflux. Common culprits include dairy and gluten-containing foods like wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Plus, overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel or yeast overgrowth in the gut can cause reflux. These are all treatable conditions that you don’t need powerful acid blocking drugs to fix. To properly diagnose the causes of your reflux, you may need to do the following. 1. […]
By |October 15th, 2013|Indigestion|0 Comments