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RefluxEsophagitis - Causes

Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Jul 24, 2020
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Causes

In certain people the stomach acid contents regularly refluxes backwards into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage of the lining of the tube. This is known as acid reflux.

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This occurs because

  • Muscle contraction normally keeps the lower end of the esophagus closed.
  • As described earlier - normally the oesophageal muscles (where it enters the stomach) work in a mechanical action, wherein they squeeze themselves together to act as a shut-off valve, or tap, to keep stomach contents out.
  • Hence reflux occurs when this valve like muscle is weak.

The reason why the muscle becomes weak is not fully understood.

Once the muscles become weak many factors like-

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  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Pregnancy
  • Coffee, chocolate, fatty or spicy foods
  • Certain medications (Commonly used drugs like Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], nitrates, calcium channel blockers)

Can also increase the frequency of acid reflux.

Certain foods cause reflux, especially those that are

  • Acidic
  • Rich
  • Spicy
  • Fatty

Sometimes reflux is caused by a 'Hiatus Hernia' (protrusion of a small part of the stomach above the diaphragm into the chest), which prevents the muscle at the base of the esophagus from working properly.

The acid is especially harmful and if persistent can cause permanent damage and lead to narrowing of the tube.

References:

  1. Schwann, Theodor. ber das Wesen des Verdauungsprocesses. Arch Anat Physiol Wissensch Med. 1836; 90-138 [Reprinted in Selected Readings in the History of Physiology, 2nd ed. Translated by Fulton JF, Wilson LG. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas; 1966, pp. 190-2.
  2. Manipal Manual Of Surgery: K. Rajgopal Shenoy. MBBS, MS. (2000 EDITION)

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Comments

Shanekirsten

This is a great piece of information. pmp training

Godislive

Its true..thank u a lot..this is wht abt i feel..hard to breath and anxiety..im suffering for 12 yrs alrdy..id like to take surgery i hope it can make a different..not al doc know abt this..here in asia they argue a lot and just give me medicine bt still doesnt make a change..

nabilnaz

I am 30 male, since last 8 years i was taking laxatives due to constipation. but i have stopped taking them since last 8 months. but around 2 years i am suffering from gas problem, burbs and indigestion. which got worse in last 2 months. since last two months my appetite has gone totally down, i have lost around 5kg weight, whole day i feel sick, not in a mood to do anything, low of energy, continous burbs, stomach full of gas whole day, vomiting sensation and nausea at times, tendency of stomach not clear even after passing motion, fullness in stomach specially after eating anything. some times motion is like normal, but other time it will be like loose motion. i have showed to many doctors, but recently i showed a gastro specialist, who did all the test like blood test, urnine test, thyroid test, cbc test, diabetise test, liver function test, where all the test came normal. in whole abdominal ultrasound, there was found a stone or polyp of 3 mm in my gallblader. then he asked me to go for an endoscopy which showed that i have esophegitis and gastric ulcer. he gave a medice [Rabeprazole sodium] for one month, but its been over 3 weeks since taking the medicine, but my condition is same, feeling just little better. i have showed my reports to a general surgeon , he suggested me that its all because of gallblader stone or polyp. he recommended me to go for laproscopy surgery and remove the gallbladder. but the gastro doctor said that gallblader is not creating trouble to me. can someone help me what to do so that i can live healthy life. plz suggest.

JeffE

Are you on any meds? Certain meds can cause esophagitis, including NSAIDs [such as Advil] and Propecia (the hair-loss med). It may take a few weeks to get back to normal after experiencing side-effects to such meds.

prakash007

hey my dad is suffering from Reflux oesophagitis since 20 years,and he had done several endoscopy , he still has heart burning , and it is getting worst , please can anybody can suggest something for me , it will be highly appreciated..

fleure12

I suffer from chronic reflux disease. I know how to control it - what to eat and what not to eat. I believe the most likely cause at the outset is over prescription of antibiotics. They kill the bad bacteria that is causing the problem but they all kill the good bacteria. This leads to fermentation in the stomach and digestive system, and pockets of air will throw the stomach contents up, particularly so at night. It is very unusual to have too much acid - it is more likely that once you are over 50, your stomach is producing less acid - a supplement of hydrochloric acid with pepsin will greatly help. Avoid any food with sugar content as this causes more fermentation. Eat plenty of green apples, apple cider vinegar tonic water and baking power. Avoid ALL food with sugar and starch - you should then be able to keep your symptoms under control without resorting to chemical pharmaceuticals. Josie in Wales

guest

Dear josie i m also suffering from reflux what to do? Daily i am taking rabeprazole. Endoscopy also been done shows H Pylori infection.

fleure12

Please give me full details of your symptoms - how long you have suffered them - how old are you - what treatment are you receiving for H Pylori infection? Are you able to purchase Apple Cider Vinegar [with the "mother" included]? I will try and help you with herbal cures that are available here in UK. Josie

guest

fleure12:
Hey. I also have chronic reflux. I was wandering if you could help me too. I´m John, 35. I´m in Colombia, South America.

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