What is Acid Reflux?

Spicy and tomato-based foods, like chili, can cause acid reflux.
People suffering from acid reflux should keep a diary of when symptoms occur.
Food and acid seeping into the esophagus can cause irritation and a burning sensation in the throat.
The hollow tube known as the esophagus runs from the stomach to the throat.
Quitting smoking can reduce acid reflux.
An illustration of a human stomach. In acid reflux, stomach acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus.
Article Details
  • Written By: John J. Jones
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Acid reflux is a common irritation of the walls of the esophagus after eating. As many as 36% of all healthy Americans experience this condition. Commonly called heartburn, this condition occurs when the Lowe espohageal sphincter or LES fails to remain closed; a properly functioning sphincter, on the other hand, holds food and acid away from the esophagus during the digestion process.

For acid reflux to occur, the LES relaxes, thereby allowing the food and acid to seep into the esophagus. The acid seepage in turn causes irritation or burning. Secondary peristalsis, or the movement of the esophagus caused by swallowing pushes about 90% of the food and acid back into the stomach. The LES closes again for normal digestion. The remaining 10% of food and acid left in the esophagus is neutralized by saliva.

While many people 'sexperiences with acid reflux are asymptomatic, it can be part of a larger problem. This condition is lumped into a much larger category called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. According to, this is "Any symptomatic clinical condition or change in tissue structure that results from the reflux of stomach or duodenal contents into the esophagus."


GERD is said to be caused by many different factors. For example, transient LES relaxation, decreased LES resting tone, impaired esophageal clearance, delayed gastric emptying, decreased salivation, and impaired tissue resistance.

An individual's lifestyle can also be a factor in causing this condition. Smoking, large meals, fatty foods, caffeine, pregnancy, obesity, body position, drugs, and hormones may all exacerbate GERD. Also, hiatal hernia frequently accompanies severe GERD. Furthermore, wearing tight clothing, lying down after a meal, or bending over can help trigger acid reflux.

It is recommended that people who have acid reflux keep a diary of when symptoms occur. This way, the individual can slowly become aware of any patterns caused by certain activities and consumption of certian foods; this will help them steer clear of the behaviors causing the problem.


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Post 4

I think most acid reflux results from stress. Cultivate a stress free life. Make whatever changes you need to.

Post 3

Can you have acid reflux while sleeping? I have laryngitis and a nurse mentioned to me it could be from acid reflux. I have been drooling more in my sleep than ever before?

Post 2

Great article- I sometimes suffer from acid reflux. The condition worsens when I eat red tomato sauce later in the evening.

After experiencing this discomfort every time I ate something with red sauce, I just simply cut it out of my diet. I try to eat lighter meals in the evening and eat early enough so that my acid reflux does not flare up.

When my acid reflux does flare up I normally use Nexium if it is severe or Tums for milder flare ups. I try to modify my diet so that I won’t need these.

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