Acid Reflux: Causes, Symptoms & Effects

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Acid reflux often leads to discomfort and irritation in the normal routine of an individual.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is caused by the back travel of stomach acids into the throat. It is generally found in adults, but children may also suffer from it due to the lack of a proper diet. People in the habit of overeating and smoking are also commonly afflicted by this problem. Pregnant women are also found to suffer from acid reflux disease. Acid reflux is often used interchangeably with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) though they are different.

Causes

This condition can be caused by various factors:

  • Malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter: Acid reflux is caused by a malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter. The function of this area of the body is to open for a few seconds during the swallowing of food. However, when it doesn’t function properly, it tends to remain open for a longer duration, which leads to this condition.
  • Gastroesophageal defects: Malfunctioning of the anti-reflux barrier and gastroesophageal valve may also cause this condition.
  • Digestive problems: In the case of children and infants, it results from the digestive system malfunctioning.
  • Food items: There are certain food items that can cause acid reflux, these include the overconsumption of alcohol, chocolates, citrus fruits, caffeinated and carbonated drinks, mint, and spicy foods. Even the consumption of tobacco can cause this problem.
  • Pregnancy: Acid reflux can also be experienced by those going through a pregnancy. The shift in the hormone levels of the body during pregnancy is considered as the reason behind it.
  • Sleeping after meals: Furthermore, an immediate nap after eating high-fat content foods is one of the primary causes of acid reflux.
  • Others: Being overweight, taking certain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and other blood thinners, no exercise, high intake of salt, and a diet low on dietary fiber could be some of the other causes of acid reflux.

Symptoms

The symptoms of acid reflux include:

In adults

  • Difficulties swallowing and digesting food
  • Heartburn (burning sensation in the chest)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Burning and soreness in the throat
  • Burping and hiccups

In children

  • Infection in the ears
  • Weight gain
  • Constant sinus drips

Effects

Acid reflux has many unpleasant effects on various parts of the body like:

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