Acid reflux is a chronic and harmful disease that can be caused by many different factors. Here is an in-depth assessment of what may be causing acid reflux disease.
One of the main reasons that people experience the caustic fluid backup that is characteristic of acid reflux is improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES muscles.
These muscles are found at the base of the esophagus and provide a method of opening and closing the passageway to the stomach. When the LES muscles are weakened, they are often unable to fully close. This can result in acid from the stomach finding its way up into the esophagus.
Abnormalities of the esophagus are another reason why people are afflicted with acid reflux disease. Several different parts of the esophagus may be malformed, but two of the most common abnormalities that lead to acid reflux are peristalsis and a condition known as adult-ringed esophagus. In an adult-ringed esophagus, there are small rings in the throat which can cause an inability to swallow properly.
Improper functioning of the stomach is another factor that can be responsible for acid reflux. Over fifty percent of all acid reflux sufferers have impaired stomach muscles that have difficulty responding quickly to stimuli. This can cause an extended period of time before the stomach is emptied of its contents, often leading to an acid backup in the esophagus.
Hiatal hernias are another reason that one may experience acid reflux. The hiatus is a hole that is located in the diaphragm, helping to secure the passageway between the esophagus and the stomach. The hiatus is usually tight, keeping the organs separate. However, if the hiatus is weakened, it can loosen up and lead to a small part of the stomach actually protruding through the hole.
When this happens, a hiatal hernia is said to have occurred. While hiatal hernias are not fully responsible for acid reflux, they can lead to a lack of functioning in the LES muscles, which, as discussed previously, leads to acid reflux.
Medication Side Effects
In addition to all of the aforementioned reasons that one may develop acid reflux, the role of certain drugs may also play a hand. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be responsible for the development of acid reflux and a worsening of the condition in those who already have it. These drugs are quite common, and some of the most recognized brands of NSAIDs include Motrin, Nuprin, Advil, and Aleve. A recent research study showed that people who regularly took these medications were as much as two times as likely to experience some symptoms of acid reflux.
Asthma and diabetes are two other things to consider when diagnosing the cause of acid reflux. At least half of all asthma sufferers are known to experience acid reflux, and we have not yet discovered which disease may be causing the other. Diabetes sufferers need to be wary of their eating habits when it comes to acid reflux; many diabetics suffer from gastroparesis, a condition that causes a delay in the emptying of the stomach. This can cause a backup in the stomach and consequently an acid buildup in the esophagus.