Acid reflux can be easily defined as regurgitation of the stomach acid. The acid which is supposed to stay inside the stomach moves backwards enters the esophagus and sometimes mouth and causes many problems. There are many factors and illnesses which cause regurgitation of stomach acid. It is therefore, necessary for them to be identified on time. This way damage to the esophagus can be avoided and patients will not have to deal with chronic discomfort.
Lifestyle Factors and Acid Reflux
People who consume specific foods may suffer from occasional acid reflux. This particularly refers to spicy and hot food as well as carbonated beverages, chocolate, citrus fruit, fatty or fried foods, garlic and onion. Even foods containing tomato such as spaghetti, pizza or salsa may contribute to acid reflux.
Smokers are also susceptible to acid reflux. Cigarettes may initiate acid reflux by damaging mucous membranes, impairing muscle reflexes in the throat or stimulating acid secretion. And finally, alcohol consumption as well as coffee and tea may be additional causes of acid reflux.
Illnesses and Acid Reflux
Many conditions and anatomic abnormalities may be responsible for acid reflux. Regurgitation of stomach acid is typical for people whose esophageal sphincter muscle does not function properly. Furthermore, acid reflux also affects people suffering from hiatus hernia. In this case abnormal position of the stomach allows the acid to re-enter the esophagus and cause irritation of its mucous membrane. Gastroparesis is another medical condition which may eventually lead to acid reflux. Namely, in gastroparesis the stomach takes too long to empty. Prolonged presence of stomach acid carries high risk of its re-entering into the esophagus.
Medications and Acid Reflux
There is a connection between acid reflux and certain medications particularly if they are taken for long period of time. Acid reflux may be a side effect of numerous drugs. Some of them are anti inflammatory non steroidal medications, corticosteroids, certain antibiotics etc. The problem also affects people who take bisphosphonates, the class of drugs used for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In case patients are prescribed medications which may cause increased production of stomach acid and consequent acid reflux doctors ought to give patients suitable drugs which will prevent this side effect or change already prescribed medications once the problem occurs.
Other Causes of Acid Reflux
Apart from the previously mentioned acid reflux commonly affects pregnant women and obese people. In pregnancy the growth of the uterus increases pressure onto the abdominal organs including the stomach which may eventually result in acid reflux. Similarly obese people suffer from increased pressure in the stomach area and this is what leads to the occurrence of acid reflux.