Good ol’ Acid Reflux - What is It and What Causes It?

acid reflux gerd gut health medical Jun 27, 2021

Good ol’ Acid Reflux - What Is It and What Causes It?

Here’s a topic for ya that nobody wants to discuss... ACID REFLUX.

Now I know this isn’t a cute topic of discussion, but it sure is important because more people suffer from it that don’t even know they have this issue or how to deal with it! 

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the result of stomach acid flowing back into your esophagus. This can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), affecting about 20% of Americans!

While GERD is the more severe/chronic condition, both are terribly uncomfortable.

What are the Symptoms?

While the common symptoms of GERD/reflux include heartburn and regurgitation, there are many other signs that you may be suffering from this issue. Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. 

A few other common symptoms are (but are not limited to):

  • Nausea
  • hoarse voice
  • issues swallowing
  • upper abdominal pain
  • Asthma
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • chronic cough
  • laryngitis and dyspepsia.

If you are suffering from acid reflux, there are a number of things that can be causing your discomfort.

What Causes Acid Reflux?

The number one cause is most likely going to be your diet. 

Foods that are most commonly associated with it are;

  • Coffee and tea
  • Onions and garlic (your strong lingering flavors) 
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomatoes - the fruit that has more acid in it than we give it credit for!
  • Citrus fruits
  • Mint 
  • Carbonated drinks - the bubbles DO NOT help 
  • Chocolate 
  • Fried Foods 

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to causes is; poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying can all heavily contribute to acid reflux and GERD.

 

How to Prevent and Aid Acid Reflux

So the next question is, how the heck do we prevent and manage it!?

The BIGGEST changes that you can make to your current lifestyle right now are;

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid laying down right after you eat - no lounging on the couch after a big meal, instead get up and walk a little bit! 
  • Elevate the head of your bed
  • Eat food slowly make sure that you thoroughly chew your food
  • Avoid as many of the trigger foods (listed above) as you can 
  • Reduce the amount of stress you suffer!

What are the Next Steps?

Now, many doctors will prescribe acid-reducing medications to counteract this disease, however, it is important to understand where this disease is coming from and treat it at the source to prevent long-term complications like esophageal narrowing, throat cancer and dental erosion!

GERD can arise due to underlying medical conditions and should be evaluated by a medical professional.