What are the Most Common Causes of Acid Reflux?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2018
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Acid reflux is one of the more common forms of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Just about everyone has experienced this painful condition at one time or another. What may surprise some people is that there are several difference causes of acid reflux that may be the origin of the pain. Identifying the reason behind the heartburn is extremely important when it comes to successfully treating this condition.

Among the various causes of acid reflux, consumption of certain foods is easily the most common. Foods that contain caffeine or chocolate sometimes cause a reflux action, particularly if consumed in large quantities in a short period of time. There is also the possibility to experience heartburn when consuming fruit juices that are naturally acidic. Even with foods that normally do not trigger a reaction, consuming too much in too short a time is highly likely to lead to this condition. Many people manage acid reflux by limiting portions or eliminating certain foods from their diets altogether.


The weakening of the sphincter muscle between the esophagus and the stomach is also one of the more common causes of acid reflux. When the muscle fails to contract properly, either due to some sort of trauma or gradual deterioration over time, stomach acids are able to escape into the esophagus, producing the burning sensation that can feel much like having a heart attack. In some cases, it is possible to repair the muscle and minimize the frequency of the reflux, especially when dietary restrictions are employed.

One of the causes of acid reflux in women is pregnancy. The presence of higher levels of progestin hormones can affect the performance of the sphincter muscle, allowing acid to escape into the esophagus. In this situation, medication to help manage the acid reflux throughout the pregnancy, as well as following a diet that is intended to provide nutrition for the mother and the unborn child while avoiding the triggering of excessive amounts of stomach acid, is often the best solution.

There are other causes of acid reflux that are worth noting. Damage that has resulted in a hiatal hernia may cause the upper area of the stomach to press upward against the esophagus, causing the reflux action. Gastroparesis, a health condition in which the stomach takes an inordinate amount of time to process the contents and move matter into the intestinal tract may also cause the acids into the esophagus. Whether the causes of acid reflux are overeating or something more severe, medical attention should always be sought for recurring bouts with reflux. Doing so will minimize the possibility of permanent damage to the esophagus that can be painful in its own right.



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