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It happens to a lot of people, an uncomfortable burning feeling in the stomach, chest, and throat. It’s sometimes accompanied by bitter tasting acid, and often comes following a large meal or late night eating. Acid reflux is a common ailment that affects many people, regardless of age or sex. Although in most cases it is not debilitating or long term, it does cause great discomfort. While it can be tempting to reach for convenient over-the-counter medicines to help keep the symptoms at bay, it’s a better idea to understand what acid reflux is, what causes it, and how it can be treated. 

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux finds its root cause in the stomach and esophagus. There is a valve at the entrance to your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter, which usually closes when food passes through it. If it doesn’t close properly, it can cause acid to travel from the stomach into the esophagus. When the acid moves into the esophagus, it causes chest pain and heartburn. 

What Are Risk Factors And Triggers For Acid Reflux?

So what might put you at a higher risk of developing acid reflux? There are a number of risk factors that are common amongst people who experience frequent reflux. It’s more common in people who are overweight and people who smoke. Additionally, eating large meals, late-night eating, certain trigger foods, and lying down after eating can bring reflux on. Some of the most common trigger foods include: tomato based foods, foods and salad dressings containing vinegar, spicy food, fried and fatty foods, mint, citrus, onions, coffee and caffeinated beverages, chocolate, and alcohol. 

How Can I Treat Acid Reflux?

There are multiple ways you can manage your acid reflux. If it’s an infrequent occurrence, avoiding your triggers should do the trick. If you’re finding that it is happening more frequently or you’re experiencing more severe symptoms, make an appointment at GI Associates. We can assess your particular case and, depending on the severity of the reflux, recommend either medication or surgical intervention in severe cases to keep your acid reflux under control. You don’t have to suffer in silence!

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