7 Habits that Cause Gastroesophageal Reflux

Not taking enough time to chew your food well can lead to acid reflux. Although many overlook it, this is the first step to an optimal digestive process.
7 Habits that Cause Gastroesophageal Reflux

Last update: 06 November, 2021

Several bad habits cause gastroesophageal reflux. This is a digestive problem that develops when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus and mouth, causing irritation.

It usually occurs after eating dishes that are too heavy, but it also may appear due to certain diseases. Its main symptom is a burning sensation in the chest, which is often accompanied by chest pain and swallowing problems.

In some people, this condition occurs sporadically, while others suffer it moderately or severely, even up to several times a week. Taking antacids can help to control it. However, in general, it’s essential to know its causes in order to combat it effectively.

Therefore, today we want to talk about its symptoms and some habits related to its appearance so you can learn how to prevent it naturally.

Gastroesophageal reflux symptoms

The clinical manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux can vary in each person, depending on its cause. It’s often described as a burning sensation at the level of the breastbone or the sensation of having a lump in your throat.

However, it’s also possible to experience:

  • Increased salivation
  • Regurgitation of sour food or liquids
  • A chronic cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Snoring and sleep problems
  • Abdominal swelling and belching

Habits that can cause gastroesophageal reflux

The development of gastroesophageal reflux implies an imbalance between the aggressive and defensive factors of the esophageal mucosa. In addition, it indicates a weakening of the sphincters that regulate the passage of acidic juices.

The following habits cause gastroesophageal reflux (or, rather, they’re its possible triggers).

1. Eating irritating foods

Habits that cause GERD include junk drink consumption.
Junk food can make symptoms of acid reflux significantly worse.

The composition of some foods or their bad combination in the same dish can be the cause of episodes with this problem. Overall, these produce an alteration in the production of acidic juices in the stomach, weakening the mucous membranes.

The most common are the following:

  • Refined flour
  • Stuffed meats
  • Fried foods and packaged snacks
  • Spicy seasonings
  • Industrial bread and pastries
  • Canned food
  • Dressings and sauces
  • Cured cheeses
  • Coffee and caffeinated products

2. Smoking can cause gastroesophageal reflux

Daily cigarette smoking is one of the bad habits that cause gastroesophageal reflux.

First, the toxins in tobacco disrupt saliva production. This helps neutralize the action of acids to prevent heartburn. Therefore, this process is hampered.

On the other hand, this bad habit causes dehydration in the mouth and throat. In turn, this facilitates irritation in the presence of acids. Thus, to truly control this problem, it’s essential to quit smoking.

3. Wearing tight clothing

Although many people may not be aware of this, wearing clothes that are too tight influences the recurrence of this symptom.

Clothing such as pants, belts, or T-shirts can increase intra-abdominal pressure. This can promote the discharge of acids into the esophagus.

4. Adopting a bad posture can cause gastroesophageal reflux

Eating lying down or adopting a bad position after eating are factors related to reflux. This increases abdominal contractions and facilitates the return of acidic juices to the upper body.

It’s recommended to maintain a good posture both during and after meals.

Read: Nutrients and Exercises to Maintain a Healthy, Clean, and Strong Liver

5. Not chewing well

One of the main recommendations to avoid gastroesophageal reflux is to chew your food well before swallowing it. While it is easy to overlook, it is the first step to an optimal digestion process.

Eating very whole foods wastes important enzymes and slows down stomach functions. As a consequence, the secretion of acidic juices increases and, therefore, cause heartburn.

6. Consuming alcohol can cause gastroesophageal reflux

Habits that cause GERD include drinking alcohol.
Among other health problems, drinking alcohol can make gastroesophageal reflux worse.

Another habit that causes gastroesophageal reflux is undoubtedly consuming alcohol. This is because the harmful compounds in alcoholic beverages overload the work of the liver and slow down the digestive process.

On the other hand, they also block the function of the unidirectional valve that is responsible for preventing the ascent of gastric contents towards the esophagus.

For this reason, drinking alcohol excessively makes reflux worse and irritates the stomach lining. Symptoms may be worse if there’s a history of gastritis or ulcers.

7. Being exposed to too much stress

People who are constantly exposed to situations of stress have more difficulty controlling episodes of gastroesophageal reflux. This harmful emotional state triggers reactions in the nervous system that alter several of the processes that take place in the digestive tract.

Plus, it also increases the secretion of stimulant substances such as adrenaline. This, in turn, is linked to an increase in the production of acidic juices.

Relaxation techniques, massages, and aromatherapy can all help us to manage stress.

Beware of these bad habits

Have you just identified any of these habits that cause gastroesophageal reflux in yourself?

Try to avoid them now to facilitate the relief of this problem. If it still persists, see your doctor to determine if it’s due to another condition and to get their expert advice.

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