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What Causes GERD? — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 13, 2007 at 9:31 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Causes GERD?

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GERD, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease involves stomach acid 'flowing in reverse' to your esophagus, and causing damage. Lining in the esophagus is not strong enough to handle contact with the acidic matter from the stomach. Most factors that increase probability of heartburn include food and beverages that either: a) relax the sphincter muscle at the end of the esophagus or b) increase acidic matter in the stomach. Below are eight of the most commonly ingested items and habits that produce heartburn (GERD).

8 Most Common Causes of GERD, or Heartburn

  1. Drinking Coffees, Teas, or Other Caffeinated Beverages. Caffeine relaxes the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), which allows the contents in the stomach to enter the esophagus much more easily.
  2. Eating Fatty, Fried Foods. Fried, fattening foods have been shown to slow down the digestion process, which causes food to sit in the stomach for much longer than normal. It also can increase stomach pressure, which in turn pressures the already weak LES.
  3. Drinking Alcohol. Alcohol is most problematic to sufferers of GERD because it increases production and amount of stomach acid. It is also known to significantly relax the sphincter muscle which leaves the esophagus dangerously vulnerable to the damaging acids.
  4. Eating Chocolate. Chocolate contains a high concentration of theobromine. Theobromine is a naturally occurring compound that can be found in tea, cocoa and coffee plants. This is another food item that relaxes the LES allowing food to squirt into the esophagus.
  5. Tomatoes, Tomato Based Foods and Citrus Juices and Fruits. Both of these relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES.)
  6. Tobacco. Cigarette smokers are frequent sufferers of heartburn because smoke from their cigarettes are extremely damaging. When smoke passes through the esophagus, the LES is weakened. The smoke then passes from the lungs into the blood. Each of these reduce the power of the sphincter to function correctly.
  7. Overeating. In the same way fried foods can increase stomach pressure and in turn increase pressure on the sphincter, eating large meals will do the same thing. The fuller the stomach, the less room food has to settle down, and it is most likely food will enter back into the esophagus.
  8. Eating Before Bed (Usually 2-3 hours Beforehand). External pressure on the stomach (from laying down on a bed) can push food back into the esophagus when the LES is not strong enough to remain closed.
Each of these place unwanted pressure on the already damaged sphincter muscle. Taking these tips into consideration will drastically reduce heartburn episodes, and a visit to the doctor may be necessary if the damage to you sphincter is severe.

[sniplet Refluxamine]

Sources: http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/heartburn/HB_causes.html http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/

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