Do you experience heartburn - a burning pain in your lower chest area? If you do, then there’s a big chance that you are suffering from acid reflux.

What causes acid reflux? There are several reasons why acid reflux come all of a sudden. Within this guide, we will discuss these causes in detail to help you relieve pain and get back on track.

What’s In The Entrance Of Your Stomach?

There is a valve at the entrance of your stomach called the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). The LES is a ring of muscle that shuts as soon as the food passes through it. However, there are times that the LES doesn’t close right away or completely. This causes some of your stomach acid to move up into your oesophagus, causing heartburn. Sometimes, the acid can even reach the back of your throat, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

Heartburn is normal and can happen every now and then. However, if you experience heartburn more than twice a week, then you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux.

What Causes Acid Reflux All Of A Sudden?

Acid reflux is triggered by several factors. Here are some of the common causes of acid reflux:

1. Food

Laying down after a meal or eating too much can trigger acid reflux. It can also be caused by foods and beverages like:

  • Carbonated beverages
  • Lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Food with tomato (i.e. pizza, salsa, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, etc.)
  • Alcohol

2. Smoking

Studies show that smoking may also contribute to acid reflux. Smoking damages mucus membranes in the throat, increasing acid secretion and impairing the production of saliva which helps neutralize acidity in the mouth and oesophagus. Smoking can also reduce LES function.

3. Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is one of the most common causes of acid reflux disease.

A hiatal hernia is a form of stomach abnormality where the top part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm. Aside from helping you breathe, the diaphragm also acts as a barrier between your stomach and your chest. It helps keep the acid in your stomach. However, if you have hiatal hernia, the diaphragm will have a hard time containing the acid.

4. Pregnancy

Several women who have not yet experienced GERD before suddenly experience acid reflux during pregnancy. But why? According to doctors, this is caused by the pressure from the growing fetus and increasing hormone levels. Usually, the symptoms are at its worst during the third trimester. Pregnancy-related acid reflux usually goes away after giving birth.

5. Other Factors

Aside from the reasons above, being overweight, snacking close to bedtime, and taking certain medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, blood pressure treatments, and muscle relaxers can also trigger acid reflux.

The weather can affect acid reflux, too. Acid reflux symptoms worsen in winter because we tend to be less physically active. The cuddle weather also straps us to the sofa - making acid reflux more likely to occur, especially if you have just eaten your favourite comfort food.

Can Acid Reflux Be Caused By Stress?

Is acid reflux connected to stress or anxiety? GERD and anxiety may look completely unrelated to each other but studies suggest that there may be a link between the two.

A 2015 study found that the negative effect of acid reflux symptoms in your life increases with anxiety and stress. Experts believe that stress makes you more sensitive to chest pain and other symptoms of acid reflux disease.

How Do You Stop Acid Reflux?

The most common acid reflux treatment is Omeprazole. Omeprazole relieves the symptoms of acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid produced by your stomach. This widely used GERD treatment comes in capsules, tablets, or made to order liquids.

Omeprazole is usually taken once a day, first thing in the morning. You can take it without food because it doesn’t upset your stomach. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information about the dosage that’s right for you. You can also buy Omeprazole right here at Express Pharmacy.

These simple lifestyle changes can also help prevent acid reflux:

  • Avoid eating large meals. Instead, eat small, frequent meals.
  • If possible, avoid certain foods, beverages, and medications that could trigger acid reflux.
  • When sleeping, make sure that your chest and head is above the level of your waist. This will prevent your stomach acid from moving up when you sleep. You can do this by raising one end of your bed with a pillow.