As with most chronic health
conditions, the causes of heartburn are multiple and
compound. While numerous popular articles refer to
certain lifestyle patterns and consumption of specific
foods as "causing heartburn", the real causes of
heartburn include a wider combination of genetic,
lifestyle and dietary contributing factors.
is a burning, painful, troublesome sensation in the
chest area or in the throat usually experienced after a
meal. While healthy individuals can experience this
sensation once a week or less, if heartburn strikes
twice a week or more, it can be a symptom of a more
serious medical impairment, called acid reflux disease,
also known as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Causes of Gastro
esophageal reflux disease
esophageal reflux disease is the consequence of two
physiological malfunctions: extra acidity in the stomach
and the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter
(LES) - a ring of muscle that serves as a gatekeeper
between the stomach and the esophagus. In healthy
individuals, the LES opens only one way, letting the
swallowed food and drink pass into the intestinal system
while keeping the gastric juices inside. However, in
reflux sufferers, the LES weakens thus allowing gastric
contents to splash back (reflux) to the esophagus,
burning its lining and causing the heartburn sensation.
What causes the weakening
of the LES?
As mentioned above, there are
several interrelating factors and cofactors that can
contribute to the weakening of the LES or to extra acid
secretion in the stomach. Those include:
Lifestyle patterns, including smoking (that
contributes to weakening of the LES) and stress evoked
either by inadequate sleep, emotional pressure or work
overload. Excessive stress can trigger digestive
problems, weaken the immune systems and encourage
Candida overgrowth, thus contributing to acid reflux
Candida infections. Candida species normally inhabit certain
areas of the human body, including the intestines and
the genitals. While in a healthy individual's body
Candida are balanced by the friendly bacteria and cause
no harm, under certain conditions these microorganisms
begin to multiply rapidly, spreading to many different
areas of the body. When Candida overgrows it can ferment
and reflux the contents of the stomach upward to the
esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the lining
of the esophagus.
Dietary patterns, the daily consumption of foods
that trigger acid secretion (i. e. peppermint, tomatoes,
citric fruits, chocolate etc.), foods that contribute to
the weakening of the LES (fatty foods, spicy
foods, chocolate) and hard to
digest foods can exacerbate acid reflux.
more about acid reflux foods to avoid.
more about foods to eat
with acid reflux.
order to stop heartburn and prevent its recurrence, one
must first and foremost tackle the above root causes.
Contrary to conventional treatments that address the
manifestations of heartburn, adhering to an all-natural
holistic approach is the only way to treat acid reflux in
a safe and effective way.