Acid Reflux – also known as Heartburn – is caused when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, causing an uncomfortable burning sensation.
Almost everyone experiences heartburn at some point in their life. However if these symptoms occur more than two days a week for several months, a person may have Acid Reflux Disease, otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Acid reflux occurs when the valve separating the esophagus and stomach (known as the lower esophageal sphincter) does not close properly, allowing acid to travel up into the esophagus. This often occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes more often than it should, and at inappropriate times.
Acid reflux can be triggered off by a number of things:
Eating the wrong food – including acidic, spicy, or fatty food, or even over-eating before bedtime.
A medical condition – can also trigger heartburn, including Hiatus Hernia, or pregnancy for example.
Lifestyle habits – are also to blame, like undue stress, smoking, or consuming excess caffienated beverages.
Exercises – Lying down or bending over on a full stomach can also trigger heartburn, as can being overweight, along with any exercises that cause increased pressure on the abdomen, and wearing tight clothes.
Unless treated, Acid reflux disease may lead to more serious medical conditions. Acid reflux can eventually erode the lining of the esophagus – a condition known as Erosive Esophagitis.
Gastroesophageal Reflux can even occur in infants – a common symptom being spitting up. More than half of all babies experience reflux during their first few months of life. A small number of infants can suffer severe symptoms due to Gastroesophageal Reflux.
Fortunately Acid reflux is curable and a doctor can prescribe appropriate treatments, some of which can heal areas of the esophagus that have been eroded by acid reflux.