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GERD Causes

There are multiple causes responsible for initiating GERD, and different causes may be functioning in different individuals or even in the same individual at different times. The commonest causes responsible for GERD have been listed below:

Lower Esophageal Sphincter Closed        Lower Esophageal Sphincter Open

:: Functional abnormalities of the lower esophageal sphincter

-> Abnormally weak contractions of the sphincter 
-> Abnormal relaxations of the sphincter 
Both of the above contribute to increases chances of backflow of the stomach contents into the esophagus.

:: Hiatus Hernia:

A condition in which there is protrusion of the stomach up into the opening normally occupied by the esophagus in the diaphragm [the muscle that separates the chest (thoracic) cavity from the abdomen.

:: Abnormal esophageal contractions:

Co-ordinated esophageal contractions cause the forward movement of food from the esophagus into the stomach. When the wave of contraction is defective, the refluxed acid is not pushed back into the stomach and it can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus.

:: Delayed emptying of the stomach:

When food remains in the stomach for a longer duration, the stomach is distended for a longer time and this increases the chances of reflux of the stomach contents.

There are several other contributing factors for GERD which are as follows:

Dietary habits: Fatty and fried foods, chocolates, garlic and onions, drinks with caffeine, acid foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, spicy foods, mint flavorings, pungent foods, etc

Habits: Use of alcohol, cigarettes; poor posture (slouching) especially after meals

Drugs: Calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, theophylline, nitrates,

Eating habits: Large meals, eating soon before sleeping

Other contributory conditions: Obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, rapid weight gain, etc.

Stress: Though this has not been directly linked to GERD, most patients report an increase in their symptoms during stressful times.

Other medical conditions: Diabetes, pregnancy, Obesity

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