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What's Causing My Terrible Acid Reflux?

What's Causing My Terrible Acid Reflux?

You have acid reflux, but lately it’s been getting worse. At first it was some heartburn, but now the symptoms don’t seem to stop. Food gets stuck in your throat. All of a sudden you can’t swallow your food easily at times. You feel nauseous. 

You’re taking medication but it’s not doing the job. Feeling like this is no fun. 

At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, we have answers for you. Our board-certified bariatric surgeons, Dexter Turnquest, MD, and Victoria C. Chang, MD, are the experts you want to see when you have severe acid reflux. We get to the root cause of your problem and recommend solutions to curtail the reflux. 

Causes of acid reflux 

Acid reflux can be the result of any one of a number of factors or a combination of them. Following are common reasons for developing reflux.

Obesity 

Being overweight or obese is the main risk factor for developing acid reflux. 

When you eat, your food goes down your esophagus and into your stomach, where acids help you digest it. There’s a valve at the intersection of your lower esophagus and your stomach that opens to let the food into your stomach. 

When you have reflux, the valve doesn’t close completely after food goes through it. 

If you’re obese, your abdominal muscles are stretched thin. That extra 20, 30, or more pounds around the middle of your body puts pressure on your skeleton as well as your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

If the valve keeps opening when it’s not supposed to, acid seeps from your stomach backward and upward into your esophagus. 

Hiatal hernia 

A hiatal hernia can result in reflux. When you have a hiatal hernia, a part of your stomach protrudes into your diaphragm through a hole called a hiatus. The hiatus joins your esophagus to your stomach. 

The stomach can push through if the muscles surrounding the area are weak or if there’s heavy pressure on the abdomen. That factor leads to additional reasons you may have reflux: pregnancy or obesity. 

Pregnancy

Up to 20% of pregnant women get a hernia, and a hiatal hernia is the most common type. Think of the added weight on the abdominal muscles and abdominal wall. If you didn’t have acid reflux before you got pregnant, the condition is likely to subside once you give birth. 

Smoking

Smoking (even second-hand smoke) affects the valve that keeps acid out of your esophagus. It makes the valve more likely to open when it’s not supposed to open, so acid can travel upward easily. 

Certain beverages 

Do you drink coffee or tea all day long? Perhaps you love soda. You might have wine several nights a week. All or any of these habits can trigger acid reflux. 

Trigger foods 

For some people, certain foods are triggers for acid reflux. These include spicy or fatty foods, acidic foods like citrus or tomato, or even foods like garlic and mint. 

Medications 

Certain common medications can trigger acid reflux in some individuals. Blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, calcium-channel blockers, and other drugs may cause reflux. 

Acid reflux treatment 

If you develop a large hiatal hernia, we perform surgical repair of your tissue. If you’re obese, you may want to consider weight loss surgery to reach a healthier weight, which helps reduce acid reflux. 

We explain your surgical weight loss options and recommend the type of surgery that would provide optimal benefits for you. 

If medications are part of the problem, we can work with your prescribing physician to try to find an alternate medication. 

Call one of our two Houston, Texas, locations or request an appointment through our online system for compassionate and expert acid reflux treatment.

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