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Thursday, November 25, 2021

What Causes Acid Reflux? And How Do You Prevent It?

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Acid reflux is a surprisingly common condition, affecting millions of people every year. It occurs when acid gurgles up through the stomach and spills out into the esophagus. Here, it begins to damage the lining, causing pain.

There are many factors that cause (or contribute) to acid reflux. In this post, we take a look at what they are and, potentially, what you can do to prevent the disease from developing in the first place.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a big cause of acid reflux. The growing baby pushes up against the stomach as it gets larger, making it easier for acid to spill out. As you might expect, pregnancy-related acid reflux gets worse during the third trimester when the baby is at its largest.

Smoking

Smoking is another common cause of acid reflux. Researchers believe that it has multiple effects on the body that make the condition more likely. For example, smoking damages the mucus membrane in your throat. It also impairs the muscle reflexes, making it more likely that acid will bubble up from the stomach. There’s also reduced salivation, which increases the acidity of the stomach acid.

Naturally, if you want your acid reflux symptoms to improve, it is a good idea to give up smoking. You’ll reduce acid reflux and your risk of oesophageal cancer.

Avoid Foods That Cause Acid Reflux

Certain foods are more likely to cause acid reflux than others. Fatty and fried foods, for instance, are top culprits, as are carbonated drinks.

You may also want to steer clear of herbs, such as mint, or foods that contain a lot of tomato, such as salsa.

You’ll need to spend some time experimenting to see which types of food trigger your acid reflux. It can be different depending on your sensitivities.

Omeprazole capsules are available for those wanting to reduce symptoms while they experiment.

Being Overweight

Being overweight is another common cause of acid reflux. Pressure on the stomach can cause it to move up through the diaphragm, increasing the chances that acid will pour out of the stomach.

Eating A Heavy Meal

Heavy meals can also cause problems, particularly if you lie on your back afterwards. For instance, you are much more likely to experience acid reflux if you eat a roast dinner and then go to bed an hour later.

If you know that acid reflux is going to be a problem, try eating the biggest meal of the day at lunch time. You can also experiment with getting the majority of your calories earlier in the day, rather than later.

Taking Too Many Painkillers

Some pain killers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin can cause stomach acid problems. In many cases, they prompt the stomach to produce too much acid which then spills out into the oesophagus. Certain muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications can have a similar effect because of the way they irritate the stomach.

You might want to ask your doctor if he or she would be willing to give you different medication that doesn’t produce the same unwanted side effects. You could also try alternative pain management techniques to reduce your need for painkillers in the first place.

Stomach Problems

The most common cause of acid reflux, particularly among younger people with the condition, is hiatal hernia. This occurs when the sphincter between the stomach and oesophagus shifts up through the diaphragm, usually due to poor diet or weight gain. Usually, the diaphragm prevents acid from moving up from the stomach but, in this case, it can’t.

There are ways to treat hiatal hernia medically. However, the best approach is to make lifestyle modifications that allow the sphincter to move back below the diaphragm again. The best way to do this is to eat a high-fibre diet. When your stomach has more material to press down on, it creates less intra-abdominal pressure. This, in turn, stops forcing the stomach into a high position, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux developing.

Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol is a major contributor to acid reflux and something that you’ll want to avoid. In fact, alcohol may also be responsible for other related conditions, such as difficulty swallowing, heartburn or dry cough.

If you drink alcohol socially, look for alcohol-free beers and wines next time you’re out – most bars and restaurants do them. Also, try to drink earlier in the day, as drinking later stimulates stomach acid production and may travel up the oesophagus.

In conclusion, for many people, acid reflux eventually goes away. However, you’ll need to make certain lifestyle changes to keep it at bay for good.

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