Common Causes of Acid Reflux Disease

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Common Causes of Acid Reflux Disease

The stomach is rich in hydrochloric acid. The acid functions as a sterilizer by killing microorganisms present in food and helps in the digestion of protein-containing foods. The acid also helps to maintain the acidic pH of the stomach. Despite the many roles that hydrochloric acid plays in your stomach, it can also impose some health complications, according to our acid reflux treatment specialist in Los Angeles. The primary health complication that roughly 60 million Americans experience from the acid is acid reflux disease. The disease mainly manifests as heartburns and discomfort of the chest.

However, heartburns are common after eating foods that trigger the production of hydrochloric acid. Therefore, experiencing heartburns on a rare occasion is normal, according to an acid reflux specialist in Los Angeles. It only causes alarm when the heartburns occur at least twice a week. When this happens, you should seek the services of our acid reflux specialist.

So how does acid reflux occur? There are two rings that enclose the stomach; one at the entrance and another at the exit. The ring at the entrance is referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. This sphincter’s function is to prevent the regurgitation of acid and food from the stomach to the esophagus. It achieves the function by contracting its muscles to close the sphincter. When acid frequently regurgitates to the esophagus, your LA gastroesophageal reflux doctor will suspect weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter muscles. Weak muscles will not be able to adequately close the sphincter causing acid reflux. A gastroesophageal reflux doctor will diagnose you with acid reflux disease when you have heartburns more than twice a week. The condition is popularly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of acid reflux disease.

The disease presents differently in different patients. Additionally, a Los Angeles acid reflux specialist noted that the symptoms can be dominant at different times of the day in different patients. Some of the symptoms include:

  1. Heartburns.
    They manifest as a burning feeling on the chest. The feeling usually occurs a few minutes after eating and may worsen at night.
  2. Dysphagia.
    Dysphagia refers to the difficulty in swallowing anything that you eat or drink.
  3. Feeling like a lump is stuck on your throat.
  4. The regurgitation of food back to the esophagus and into the mouth. The reflux is not only seen with hydrochloric acid but also with foods or acidic liquids like tea.
  5. A painful chest.

The above symptoms are general in most patients. However, some symptoms are unique to patients who experience acid reflux at night. They include:

  1. Chronic coughing during sleep.
  2. Inflammation of the larynx that may lead to an infection. This will prompt you to seek a laryngopharyngeal reflux doctor. Alternatively, head and neck doctors in LA can also be helpful in the case of laryngitis. This is because the acid irritates the larynx and the pharynx when reflux occurs.
  3. Inadequate sleep.

Due to the chronic cough, you may have difficulties staying asleep. This may lead to irregular sleeping patterns such as sleeping during the day to make up for the inadequate sleep at night.

Acid reflux disease can also affect infants. Some of the symptoms of the disease unique to infants include:

  1. Choking due to acid in the mouth.
  2. Poor feeding habits.
  3. Frequent hiccups.
  4. Loss of weight.
  5. An arching back during breastfeeding.

Common causes of acid reflux disease.

There are several causes of the disease. The causes also vary from individual to individual. Common causes include:

  1. Smoking.Smoking causes acid reflux disease in many ways. It destroys the protective mucus lining of the stomach, triggers the secretion of hydrochloric acid, interferes with the lower esophageal sphincter’s function, and depletes saliva in the mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing stomach acid because it is alkaline.
  2. Pregnancy.Acid reflux disease caused by pregnancy goes away after birth. The fetus puts pressure on the stomach, causing the disease. The more progressed the pregnancy, the worse the symptoms of the disease. High levels of hormones in pregnancy also play a role in causing acid reflux disease.
  3. Obesity.There is little explanation as to why obesity causes acid reflux disease. However, obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, acid reflux disease being one of them.
  4. Certain medications.Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common medications known to cause acid reflux disease. The medications have the side effect of irritating the gastric mucosa and depleting the stomach’s protective mucus layer. You should avoid common drugs in this class, such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and aspirin, if you have acid reflux disease. Other classes of medications, such as antihypertensives and muscle relaxants, also cause acid reflux disease. Muscle relaxants cause the disease by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and disabling it from closing adequately.
  5. Trigger foods and drinks.
    These are foods and drinks that trigger the symptoms of the disease, such as heartburns. Certain foods irritate the protective layer of the gastric mucosa leading to heartburns. They include spicy foods, deep-fried foods, foods cooked with tomatoes like salsa, citrus fruits like lemons, chocolate, beans, and foods containing excess onions and garlic. Drinks that trigger acid reflux disease symptoms include alcohol, tea, coffee, and minty drinks. Therefore, you should avoid incorporating these foods and drinks into your diet.
  6. Abnormalities of the stomach.
    The most common abnormality of the stomach that causes acid reflux is hiatal hernia. In this condition, the lower esophageal sphincter and stomach’s upper part are positioned above the diaphragm. The diaphragm plays a role in preventing acid reflux. However, in hiatal hernia, the diaphragm cannot prevent acid reflux.

Other minor causes of acid reflux disease include sleeping immediately after eating and overeating.

When you have acid reflux disease, you frequently visit different types of doctors such as head and neck doctors, laryngopharyngeal reflux specialist in LA, and a gastroesophageal reflux doctor in LA. This is because the disease symptoms can also involve other organs of your body like the larynx. The disease needs long-term treatment and can be managed with a combination of injections and oral medications. A crucial part of the disease’s management is avoiding foods and drinks that can trigger acidity, such as spices and tea, respectively.

If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain, contact our ENT doctor in Los Angeles today!

Head & Neck Cancer

Head & Neck Cancer is a term used to describe a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.

Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they begin in the flat, squamous cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck. Directly beneath this lining, which is called the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of moist tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is limited to the squamous layer of cells, it is called carcinoma in situ. If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into the deeper tissue, then it is called invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

Types of Head & Neck Cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, each named according to the part of the body where they develop.   For more information, including signs and symptoms about each different form of  head and neck cancers listed below, click on the links below to read more on

Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer. The larynx is commonly called the voice box. It is a tube-shaped organ in the neck that is important for breathing, talking, and swallowing. It is located at the top of the windpipe, or trachea. The hypopharynx is also called the gullet. It is the lower part of the throat that surrounds the larynx.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer. The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are the air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer. The nasopharynx is the air passageway at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer. The oral cavity includes the mouth and tongue. The oropharynx includes the middle of the throat from the tonsils to the tip of the voice box.

Salivary Gland Cancer. The salivary gland is tissue that produces saliva, which is the fluid that is released into the mouth to keep it moist and that contains enzymes that begin breaking down food.

Information above provided by & approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board06/2014

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