Acid reflux is experienced when the stomach contents go back up the food tube or the esophagus. Frequent occurrence of acid reflux can irritate the esophageal lining or mucosa.
The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which breaks down food. Moreover, it protects the stomach against bacteria. While the stomach can withstand gastric acid, it does not apply to the esophagus. But the esophagus has a gastroesophageal sphincter at its upper and lower part. These involuntary muscles open and close to let the food travel down the esophagus to the stomach. They prevent the food from coming back up into the food tube. However, in some circumstances, the muscles fail to function, causing a backwash or acid reflux.
Typically, it is not a cause for alarm if a person has acid reflux occasionally. However, if it becomes severe and more frequent, it is best to see a doctor. There are several ways to prevent acid reflux. But learning what causes the condition will help people avoid it. Below are most of the causes of acid reflux. So read on so you will know what to avoid.
Hiatal hernia is an abnormality where the stomach’s upper part and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) move above the diaphragm. The latter is a muscle separating the chest from the stomach. It usually aids in keeping acid in the stomach, but a hiatal hernia can cause the diaphragm to move into the esophagus to cause acid reflux. A hiatus is a small opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus (food canal) passes before connecting to the stomach.
In a hiatal hernia, the top part of the stomach bulges into the chest cavity, hindering the proper closing of the lower esophageal sphincter. However, not all people with hiatal hernia will experience any symptoms. For example, acid reflux could be a symptom of the hiatal hernia, or the hernia is the cause of acid reflux.
Obese people and those in their 50s are commonly the ones who get hiatal hernias. It could also occur if someone encountered a physical injury or went through an excessive bout of vomiting or coughing.
Losing weight is a solution to control reflux symptoms. Some people may feel better by taking heartburn medicine prescribed by their doctor. If the case is extreme, the patient may need surgery.