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Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn is a common disorder that nearly 60 million Americans suffer from every month. You probably have family, friends, and relatives that have. But let us look into what causes heartburn so you can have idea of what to avoid if possible. What is widely know as heartburn is actually a symptom an not the main disease. 

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, manifests by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Sounds super disgusting right? The main issue is for some reason there is an increase in production of acid in the stomach and/or structural problems that allow acid reflux into the esophagus.

Many of the foods we eat or drink help lead us down the path of GERD. What happens is after we consumer certain foods or drinks it can cause increased stimulation in stomach acid secretion which eventually sets the stage for heartburn. Many common Over-the-counter medications also may stimulate and cause heartburn. I have listed below examples of common food that we eat or drink everyday that can potential cause heartburn.
Examples of these potential heartburn stimulates are:

alcohol
caffeine
aspirin (Bayer, etc.),
ibuprofen (Examples are: Advil, Nuprin, Moltrin)
Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve)
carbonated beverages,
acidic juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple)
acidic foods (tomatoes, grapefruit, and oranges)
chocolate( I was sad to see this on the list)

Smoking cigarettes and eating foods full of high-fat content also tends to affect function of the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, causing it to relax from the stomach and allow acid to reflux into the esophagus. Also having a hiatal hernia, where a portion of the stomach lies within the chest instead of the in abdomen, can influence the way the LES works and is a potential cause for acid reflux. Hiatal hernias by alone cause no symptoms or issues. It is only when the LES gives out that heartburn occurs.

If your LES stays functional then heartburn can potentially be avoided. Pregnancy can also cause higher pressure within the abdominal cavity and have an affect on the LES function and stimulate it in such a way to cause acid reflux. Being over weight or obese may also cause more pressure in the abdomen, and thus cause acid reflux in the same way. Many of the primary diseases of the esophagus can also have heartburn as a common symptom. Examples of diseases of the esophagus are scleroderma and sarcoidosis.

If you develop or start having heartburn/acid reflex we advise that you definitely schedule an appointment to insure not else potentially more troublesome is a foot.

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