Acid reflux disease, also know as GERD or gasroesophageal reflux disease, is caused by an esophageal sphincter that does not function properly. This sphincter is a muscular ring at the bottom of the esophagus that prevents stomach contents from backing up into the throat and mouth. If that sphincter is not working right, the acids from the stomach can come back into the esophagus causing painful heartburn, burning in the throat, and an acidic taste in the mouth. It can be very uncomfortable for the patient, and if it is not identified and treated, it might also cause damage to the esophagus and larynx.
There are a number a possible contributing causes of acid reflux disease, although doctors are still not sure what the original cause might be. Some of the things that directly contribute to acid reflux symptoms are smoking, overeating, stress and a diet that is high in salt and fatty foods. A hiatal hernia is a condition that can also exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux, as does obesity and pregnancy. All three of these conditions put additional pressure on the abdominal area which can be why they are all considered causes of acid reflux. Peptic ulcers and an insufficiency of digestive enzymes in the stomach can also be conditions that cause stomach acids to build up and back up. It has also been found that people with asthma and diabetes have a higher incidence of acid reflux disease.
Preventable Causes Of Acid Reflux Disease
A person can experience acid reflux symptoms after eating a large meal. This can be easily prevented by cutting down portion sizes. Since certain foods may act as triggers for symptoms, keeping a food diary and learning to avoid foods that are potential acid reflux causes will help keep the problems associated with the disease in check. Some doctors will recommend staying away from caffeine, alcohol and smoking. While these are not actual acid reflux causes, they all can make current symptoms worse. Another way to reduce the uncomfortable effects of acid reflux is by avoiding lying down after eating a meal. This position can make it easier for digestive acids to move in the wrong direction. You can also elevate your upper body at night while sleeping to avoid waking up with painful heartburn in the morning, or even in the middle of the night.
Although there are many causes of acid reflux disease, there are also many treatment possibilities to keep the symptoms at bay. With a little investigation and a doctor’s help, many acid reflux sufferers are finding relief from the pain and discomfort of acid reflux disease.