Acid reflux is a digestive disorder in which there is excessive reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. It may happen when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly or when irritation of the LES leads to regurgitation. One of the symptoms of acid reflux is a burning sensation in the chest caused by indigestion.
The affected person may experience heartburn, chest pain, and nausea, but there are also possible complications associated with this condition. Most people who have a disorder of the LES feel relieved once the condition is treated by appropriate medication, but others may feel uncomfortable during their day-to-day activities because of the condition.
In order to determine what causes acid reflux, it is important to know the way the LES works. It is composed of muscular tissue located between the stomach and the small intestine and acts as a barrier between the two. The LES is made up of end diaphragm muscle and lower esophageal sphincter muscle. The LES closes off the lower esophageal sphincter to prevent acid from entering the stomach and flowing back up to the esophagus.
The esophageal sphincter muscle and the end diaphragm muscle are also linked to each other. When either one of these muscles contracts, the other is relaxed which allows the stomach to relax and empty. But if one of these muscles contracts too much, the LES will be irritated and the refluxed gastric acid will damage the esophageal lining.
Most people with acid reflux will notice that the condition worsens in the evening and progresses throughout the night. This is due to changes in the chemistry of the stomach, which releases hormones that cause acid reflux. Some factors that trigger acid reflux are smoking, coffee, alcohol, peppermint, and citrus fruits.
There are some home remedies for acid reflux. These home remedies include:
Keep the air moving in your stomach. By keeping the air in your stomach, the acid can flow up to the esophagus without being trapped. It will then reflux down the esophagus where it will be refluxed away from the esophagus.
Eating light and frequent meals. Having regular meals will help prevent the reflux of gastric acid. The large quantities of food will prevent the end diaphragm from contracting.
Avoiding certain foods. Because some foods that contain rich amounts of lactose will also make the acid reflux worse, it is important to avoid these foods.
Avoid eating at the same time every day. Eating at the same time of the day will cause stomach acid to stay longer in the stomach. This causes the LES to become too weak and will allow the reflux of acid to flow back up into the esophagus.
Heartburn is another symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn occurs when the acid in the stomach reaches the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the chest.