Acid Reflux: Is this a lifestyle disease?

If you often feel a burning sensation in your chest after a meal, it is likely to be heartburn, a common symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows up through the food pipe causing the oesophagus to be inflamed causing a burning sensation to the area around it. Some people even report feeling the pain reach their neck and throat. Apart from heartburn, other common symptoms of acidity include burping, nausea, vomiting, dry coughs and a sour acid taste at the back of the mouth

Acidity is a common condition that is usually a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Making healthier choices can help do away with symptoms of acidity and many other conditions. It is important to evaluate what your acidity triggers are to help ease the symptoms.

Here are some of the lifestyle causes of acid reflux:

1. Eating habits:

The food we eat and how we consume it can trigger heartburn along with other symptoms of acid reflux. Doctors tell us to avoid too much spicy food and oily food to avoid getting an upset stomach. Many foods increase stomach acid and should not be taken all together in order to avoid acid reflux. These foods include carbonated beverages, chocolate, citrus fruits, tea, coffee, fatty or fried food, tomato (and it’s by-products), garlic, onions, mint and spicy foods. Right after consuming these foods, especially when taken in large quantities may result in symptoms of acidity. Having large meals or lying down right after a meal can also trigger heartburn. It is best to lie down after 2-3 hours after your meal to prevent acidity symptoms.

2. Weight-related issues:

If you are overweight or obese, it may trigger frequent heartburns due to the excess abdominal pressure which makes the upward flow of acid more likely. This is why tight clothing can also be a trigger. The first thing a doctor would recommend you do to defeat acidity is to lose weight. Remember not to eat before a workout or it might make symptoms worse.

3. Smoking:

To add to the long list of reasons why smoking is an unhealthy lifestyle choice, it is also a major contributor to acid reflux. The nicotine in the tobacco relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which makes it easier for acid to move through the valve and up the esophagus. There’s more damage that smoking can cause including impairing the muscle reflexes in the throat, increasing acid secretion and damaging mucus membranes. It can also increase the risk of esophagus cancer. Quitting smoking will help reduce symptoms.

4. Alcohol consumption

Alcohol produces more acid than usual and is also a cause of acidity. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of esophageal cancer. If you smoke as well, the risk of cancer is even greater.

Apart from lifestyle causes, there are also other causes that could be causing those acid burps and heartburn. These include:

1. Hiatal hernia:

This is a stomach abnormality which can occur in people of any age. The condition happens when the upper part of the sphincter and the lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm allowing acid to enter the esophagus. When this wall works correctly, it prevents the acid from entering the esophagus.

2. Pregnancy:

Increasing hormone levels in pregnant women can cause acidity in them even if they have never experienced it before. It usually gets worse during the last trimester and will go away after delivering.

When acidity occurs frequently, it is important to know the cause in order to avoid it. If lifestyle changes and prescribed medication does not cure your symptoms of acidity, it is best if you get a doctor to look at the situation thoroughly. A couple of tests may be recommended to eliminate major concerns.

If you or a loved one is experiencing frequent heartburn and other symptoms of acidity, you can book an appointment with a gastrologist at our hospital using the link:

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