How do you get acid reflux disease?
Acid reflux is a condition in which gastric juices (stomach juices), which are naturally acidic, travel back from the stomach to the esophagus.
Some people experience this condition regularly and may have a condition called GERD or gastrointestinal reflux disease. When food reaches the stomach, it is partially digested by gastric acids and enzymes – special substances that enable chemical breakdown of food in order for the body to use it. In a normal condition, the partially acidic content inside the stomach is passed through by the stomach to the small intestine or bowel for additional digestion. In the case of patients with acid reflux, instead of going into the small intestine, the acidic stomach content goes back to the esophagus resulting to the inflammation and damage to the esophageal mucous lining.
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux usually happens when the lower esophageal sphincter or LES fails to perform properly and allows the stomach contents to seep upwards to the esophagus. However, the reason for having a faulty LES is not clearly identified.
There are certain factors that contribute to the development of acid reflux disease and these include the consumption of fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, alcohol; cigarette smoking, obesity, pregnancy and delayed stomach emptying. Smoking has the ability to stimulate increased production of stomach acids, weakens the LES and slows down digestion. Obesity and pregnancy play roles in acid reflux since both conditions have an increased pressure in the abdomen or body trunk resulting to the pushing back of the stomach contents to the esophagus. Some people also naturally have a slow capacity to empty their stomach contents to the intestines. Lying flat or supine just after a meal can also cause gastric reflux.
How to prevent or protect yourself from reflux?
Modify your diet. There are certain foods that aggravate the acid reflux and there are also others that lessen its occurrence. You should watch out for fatty foods because they can cause acid indigestion. You may want to include high-fiber foods in your diet; they are proven to help keep your digestive system function properly. Make sure also to eat slowly so that the food can be digested carefully and passed to the small intestine. Avoid gorging yourself during mealtime.
You should also avoid lying flat right after eating because this position facilitates the backflow of food to the esophagus. You may stand up or sit down so that gravity can help the normal flow of food to the intestine.
Always be in your normal recommended weight. The bulk of fat in the abdomen causes pressure that pushes the food upwards to the esophagus. So make sure to stay fit and avoid that fat belly.
Avoid too much stress. Research shows that significant stress activates the natural “fight or flight” response of the body. This causes the body to send signals to the GI system to slow down in order to save energy and oxygen. A slowed digestion causes the food to remain in the stomach longer and as it stays for a prolonged time in the stomach, it leads to excessive churning of the stomach that will later lead to indigestion. The end result is acid reflux when acid splashes back to the esophagus during excessive churning of the stomach.
Hints and Tips
You are now equipped of the helpful ways to protect yourself from acid reflux. The best next thing to do now is to make necessary steps to help you do these things.
You may want to keep a journal of the food that you eat so that you can easily keep track of the foods that cause acid reflux. You can also use this journal to help you evaluate yourself if you are following the recommended diet.
You can also search for ways to help you relax and avoid stress such as doing yoga and reflection.
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