Acid reflux disease, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs due to the coexistence of several medical and lifestyle conditions.
Physiological factors that trigger GERD include lower esophageal sphincter (LES) hypotonia (the gradual weakening of the LES), along with retrograde flow of stomach contents into the esophagus, and the level of sensitivity of the esophageal mucus to the reflux content.
The food that you swallow travels down your throat and is pushed by contractions of the muscular esophagus. In the area where the esophagus joins the stomach a valve-like mechanism, known as lower esophageal sphincter (LES), is located. The closure of this muscle prevents stomach acid from backing up, or refluxing, into the esophagus.
Lower Esophageal Sphincter
LES malfunction is the first factor that causes and contributes to gastro-esophageal reflux disease. In a healthy individual, the LES relaxes only when food passes from the esophagus into the stomach.
After the food passes into the stomach, the valve shuts off, keeping the stomach content and acid inside. However, when the LES is weak and doesn’t close properly, acid can splash up into your throat causing painful burning sensation, called heartburn.
There are several factors/conditions, which can prevent the LES from being closed properly. These factors/conditions include genetic weakness, obesity and excessive fat ingestion. In addition to that, all muscles in the human body tend to sag as part of the aging process, including the LES.
Behavioral and Lifestyle
The second factor, or rather the group of factors that causes gastro-esophageal reflux disease, are behavioral and lifestyle related. As mentioned above, a weakened LES is one of the direct physiological causes of acid reflux disease.
Various food ingredients, drugs and nervous system processes can weaken this muscle, thus contributing to GERD. Foods that may contribute to acid reflux include orange juice, lemons and lemonade, grapefruit juice, tomatoes and tomato juice, French fries, sour cream, coffee and tea.
Fungal Yeast Infection
Acid reflux can also be the result of fungal yeast infection that builds up in the colon. When Candida albicans turn from yeast to fungi, they depress the immune system and produce more than 79 distinct toxins that may be responsible for many of the symptoms that Candida sufferers have including heartburn.
When Candida gets out of control, it breaks through the intestinal walls and travels throughout the body. It can attach itself to the genital areas, the mouth and the esophagus among many other parts of the body.
When Candida goes out of control, it begins to ferment and reflux the contents of the stomach upward through the small intestines, through the stomach and then through the esophagus, causing infection, burning and damage to the esophagus.
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