Heartburn or acid reflux is caused by many reasons. This happens when the acid from the stomach goes back up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter or what doctors call LES is usually the one responsible for this heartburn. This is when the LES or the valve between the stomach and esophagus that holds the acid of the stomach rests at a wrong time. As a result, acid goes back up. If this happens often, acid from the stomach can cause damage to the esophageal lining which will lead to esophagitis.
Finding out what are the causes of acid reflux can help you make certain changes in your lifestyle. Breaking a habit which contributes to excessive acid production in your stomach can also help you prevent the acid reflux from happening.
Food is one of the factors that can trigger excessive stomach acid production. Caffeinated beverages, chocolates, tea or coffee can relax the LES allowing stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. Chocolate contains theobromine a compound that is found in cocoa plants and coffer also triggers the esophageal sphincter muscle to relax allowing stomach acids to go back up. Other food such as tomato based products also helps in relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. Fried and fatty foods slows down digestion and as a result, it keeps the food in your stomach a bit longer. Because of this, the pressure of food in the stomach weakens the LES allowing reflux of its contents. A full stomach can also put extra pressure in the LES. This increases the chance of food going back to the esophagus. Eating 2 or 3 hours before bedtime causes the stomach contents to press harder against the LES which also increases the chance of food to reflux.
For those who are alcohol drinkers, take note that alcohol has a sedative effect which lowers the LES. It also increases the stomach acid production. Smoking can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken as the chemicals from cigarettes or tobacco passes from the lungs into the blood. Eating too much citrus fruits and uices can also trigger the LES to relax. Lastly, wearing tight fitting clothes especially around the abdomen can squeeze the stomach forcing food against the LES so be sure that you are not wearing any tight fitting clothes or belts since these can trigger heartburn.
There are probably many reasons yet to find out as to why heartburn occurs. These are a few of the most common causes of this disease. Now that you have found out what they are, it’s time to take that lifestyle change. Learn to eat a healthy diet and don’t forget to do simple exercises. Living a healthy lifestyle is a good way to prevent this condition without getting any medication. If you do this, you are sure to save money and you are keeping a healthy lifestyle.