What Really Causes Acid Reflux

By: GerriStone
Acid reflux occurs because the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus fails to close properly. This muscle should work like a one-way valve, allowing food to enter the stomach, and stopping stomach acid from backing up.

Several factors will influence the way this muscle works. In infants and babies, the muscle may not close tight enough to keep the stomach acid in the tummy. This is commonly called colic. Colic can be miserable for both the baby and the family, but it generally disappears by about six to eight months of age, as the child's muscles develop and strengthen. Another common reason people suffer from heartburn is pregnancy, or being overweight. Both of these conditions cause extra pressure to build up along the diaphragm, and push on the lower esophagus. This can weaken the muscle, and promote acid reflux.

Almost fifty percent of heartburn sufferers have stomach muscles that work very slowly, this can result in delayed emptying of the stomach. When this occurs, food remains in the stomach longer than normal, increasing the chances that the stomach acid could splash up on the sensitive tissues of the esophagus.

Hiatal hernias can also cause the symptoms of acid reflux. The hiatus is a passageway in the diaphragm that permits food from the esophagus to pass into the stomach. A hiatal hernia is when a small part of the stomach actually protrudes up through the hole. This prevents the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus from working properly, and can lead to acid reflux.

Several common medications may also cause you to suffer the effects of acid reflux. Medications that irritate the stomach lining can aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux. The most common medications that do this are Motrin, Nuprin, and Advil. These medications are commonly used as pain relievers, and many sufferers report relief if the take these medications with food.

Different types of foods can also cause heartburn. If you suffer from this disease, keeping a food diary can help you discover the cause and prevent future suffering. Many people get into the habit of taking antacids several times each day. This only masks the symptoms of acid reflux, and provides short-term relief. If you find yourself using antacids more than three times each week, then it is time to visit the doctor. Several effective treatments will stop acid reflux, and prevent complications from starting.
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