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What are causes of Acid Reflux Disease or GERD

The reason why some people develop GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)  is still unclear. The main cause of Acid reflux is the malfunction of the esophageal sphincter ( LES ). However, it can also be caused by the abnormal production of the gastric acids in the stomach.

Usually GERD and Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES ) relaxes abnormally and does not close fully . The LES performs like a non-return valve that closes off the esophagus after you swallow. Sometimes this valve malfunctions and remains open after eating, allowing gastro juice to back up and enter into esophagus, causing reflux and GERD symptoms. In fact the valve (sphincter) should open for only a few seconds during swallowing.  A weak LES over the time is enough to cause chronic heartburn and acid reflux . Frequent exposure to corrosive acid can inflame the lining of the esophagus, making it so sensitive that sometimes swallowing is painful.  Continuous inflammation of esophagus over a long period of time may cause scar tissue to build up in the esophagus, narrowing the opening. Such a stricture makes it difficult to swallow solid food, and the esophagus will have to be dilated  by a special non-surgical procedure. Strictures are sometimes malignant, particularly for smokers and heavy alcohol users. So, even if you think you can live with the discomfort of daily heartburn, it's important for your future health to try to bring symptoms under control. Fortunately, reflux esophagitis is rarely associated with cancer of the esophagus. Smoking and alcohol can help cause cancer of the esophagus.
Gastric reflux can be a result of our lifestyles as well as how we eat. Sometimes eating large amounts of food especially in the night can trigger a heartburn and reflux attack.

Certain foods and drugs may also contribute to heartburn by relaxing the Lower esophageal sphincter or stimulating acid secretion by the stomach and aggravate Acid Reflux. These foods include citrus fruit like orange, spicy foods, pizza , tomato and spaghetti sauce, peppermint, fried and fatty foods and chocolate. Smoking, obesity and pregnancy , can also cause GERD symptoms.

There is aother condition called Hiatal hernia may also cause acid reflux disease. In chronic cases of hiatal hernia, a part of the stomach protrudes into the lower chest muscles exerting a pressure on the esophageal sphincter valve and thus leading to heartburn. The patients who have both GERD disease and Hiatal Hernia usually experience a more severe symptoms.

Apart from the above, there are other lifestyle factors that can contribute to causes of acid reflux disease. Some of these factors that directly contribute to acid reflux symptoms are smoking, obesity and  stress. Overeating is also another cause of acid reflux. Eating too much will cause episodes of acid reflux symptoms. Overfilling the stomach results in the food being refluxed back into the esophagus and even the mouth causing heartburn and acid reflux.

these lifestyle causes can be prevented.  Having a good dietary plan, changing eating habits , lifestyle modification and understanding how to avoid certain foods that are potential acid reflux causes can help to ease and mitigate the complications associated with acid reflux disease.

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