The simple version is when Acid and stomach content passes through the sphincter valve, which is supposed to be a one way valve – generally food goes down and not supposed to come up into the esophagus. When it happens often enough and/or stays long enough it starts significantly eating away at the esophageal lining.
How does the acid and stomach content pass through the sphincter valve?
If the pressure in the stomach overwhelms the strength of the valve and gravity, stomach content will come up.
What are some of the pressures?
1. Gas, carbonated drinks is a big culprit.
2. Overeating, builds up pressure and stresses the sphincter valve.
3. Bending down, especially when overweight.
4. Snoring alone can pull up stomach content.
5. Lying down to close to eating.
Solutions to Upward Pressure:
1. Drink non-carbonated drinks.
2. Eating small meals and eating slowly.
3. Lose weight if over weight. Loosen your belt of war loose clothing.
4. Get checked for sleep apnea or other reasons for snoring.
5. Don’t lay down for 3 hours after eating. Take a walk after meals. Many people get tired after eating, if you feel you need to lay down lay on your left side and lift the head of your bed.
*Important Note: Certain foods such as caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, etc. relax the sphincter muscle which means it takes less pressure for stomach content to pass into the esophagus.
Downward pressures; Gravity, swallowing, air pressure from a CPAP, etc.
Lifting the head of the bed, this utilizes the downward pressure of gravity.
Eating properly keeps from loosening the strength of sphincter valve. Eating small meals keeps pressure down on the sphincter.
Many acidic foods irritate an already damaged esophagus.
Some medicines reduce acid, others dilute acid by counteracting the acid. Long term medicines need to be taken under the supervision of a physician.