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What is gastricreflux?

Gastric refluxis a condition where the acidic stomach content flows back form thestomach into the esophagus. Typically, whatever we consume should goone way. From the mouth, food enters the esophagus, a tube thatconnects the stomach with the mouth. The esophagus has two “valves”,one on the upper end and one on the lower end. These valves shut itand do not allow anything, solid matter, liquid or gases to wanderinside or back outside unless it should (typically, this is only whenwe are swallowing something, on when we are vomiting or burping).More scientific name for these valves is sphincter muscles. These arecircular, ring - like muscles that encircle numerous passageways inthe organism, such as esophagus, the anus, or the urethra.

Inside thestomach, chewed and swallowed food is suffused with powerful acid,secreted by the walls of the stomach. Purpose of this acid is tobreak down and soften food as much as possible and prepare it forchemical breakdown in the intestines, when food components will bestripped down to molecules, suitable for absorption through theintestines and further use in the organism. Walls of the stomach,needless to say, are acid resistant.

Now, if, forsome reason, the esophageal sphincter on the lower end of theesophagus does not seal well, this highly acidic stomach content canflow back in the esophagus, whose walls are not acid resistant. Acidburns the wall of the esophagus, causing pain and other symptoms ofGERD.

Why it happens?

There are tworeasons. The principal reason is the weakening of the loweresophageal sphincter muscle. The second, which just adds to thefirst, is consumption of foods that are known to cause excesssecretion of stomach acid and increase pressure in the stomach oraffect the sphincter in some other way. The list of such foods islarge, and we offer just a short exception from it. In example, foodsthat can cause a GERD attack include fast food, including all deepfried and fatty food, chocolate, citrus fruits and their juices,caffeine containing beverages such as tea, coffee and various fizzydrinks, spirits and alcohol onions (raw onions in particular), potatochips, French fries, spicy mashed potatoes, ground beef and marbledsirloin, salad dressings, spaghetti, particularly those served withhot tomato sauce, as well as cheese and macaroni.

What can you do?

You haveprobably heard GERD - related advices before. Loose weight, exercise,change eating habits, yada yada yada. These advices are not bad, buthere is a practical approach. Make and maintain a list of foods thatcause GERD attack in you, and grade the level of severity for eachkind of food. That way you will know what foods to avoid at alltimes, what occasionally, and what foods do not trouble you at all.It will be easier to decide what to eat for your next meal with suchlist.

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