The Causes of Acid Reflux: Lower Esophageal Sphincter

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can be caused by a few different things, one being lower esophageal sphincter. Many simply think that the cause is fatty foods or foods that are high in cholesterol, but there are actually life altering events that can cause acid reflux. Some patients may actually produce an abnormal amount of acid that causes acid reflux and others may have several different causes at work, but chances are it is one of four causes; this is what you need to know about lower esophageal sphincter.

One of the biggest factors in acid reflux is the lower esophageal sphincter which is the muscular tube that extends from the bottom of the throat to the stomach. This muscle, that connects the joining point of the stomach and the esophagus, is active most of the time in the majority of individuals. Think of the lower esophageal sphincter as the gatekeeper to the food moving from the throat, or esophagus, to the stomach as the food is being digested.

When the lower esophageal sphincter closes and moves the food from the throat to the stomach. If the lower esophageal sphincter works right and closes every time that the food is swallowed then the food will be digested correctly and will not cause acid reflux. People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease actually have a lower esophageal sphincter that doesn’t function properly, letting partially digested food out to wreck havoc.

There are two ways that the lower esophageal sphincter functions abnormally, the first being a weak contraction of the sphincter. With a lower esophageal sphincter that contracts weakly the ability to prevent reflux is reduced. The second abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter functions abnormally is with a transient relaxation. This causes a prolonged relaxation allows the process to go on for too long, allowing reflux to occur.

When an individual eats the stomach becomes distended with food, causing the lower esophageal sphincter to be overcome with food and reflux occurs. Even people who don’t regularly suffer from acid reflux will have reflux after a large meal, due to the abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

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