What causes acid reflux? Acid reflux has many names but it is a condition that causes the stomach contents to flow back, or reflux, into the esophageal canal. There are many causes of acid reflux including structural malfunction, diet and exercise, and poor habits. Let’s look at some of these below.
Structural malfunction can include genetic disorders, but more often refer to problems with weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES is weakened then the contents of the stomach can be regurgitated, or reflux, into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes the LES to be pulled above the diaphragm.
Diet and exercise are important. Eating foods high in fat content, spicy foods, tomato and citrus products, and chocolate can cause the LES to weaken and acid to reflux into the esophagus. Eating a large meal causes the stomach to distend and can put pressure on the LES and weaken it. Lying down immediately after consuming a large meal can exacerbate acid reflux. Some habits like alcohol consumption and smoking can cause acid reflux and drinking caffeinated, carbonated beverages is not recommended.
Acid reflux symptoms that are chronic must be treated before the condition causes severe damage.
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