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pancreatic insufficiency

Understanding what reflux really is

By | Digestion, Gut Health, Health

It is common to experience reflux from time to time if we overeat or indulge in rich foods but it is not normal. If our digestion is running smoothly and we practice clean eating then it shouldn’t happen at all.

  • If you get reflux more than twice per week you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease also known as GORD
  • Reflux occurs when the contents of our stomach flows upwards into the oesophagus and in some cases even spilling up into our throat and mouth
  • Unlike our stomach which has a special lining that protects it from the highly acidic environment that stomach acid provides, our oesophagus is NOT designed to come into contact with acid. Acid burns the mucosa and if you have ever experienced severe reflux you won’t forget the burning in your throat & chest in a hurry
  • The lower oesophageal sphincter contracts to let food into the stomach but not out, when this sphincter isn’t working properly it can allow back flow up into the oesophagus.
  • Physical abdominal pressure affects lower oesophageal sphincter function. This can be caused by:
    – Obesity
    – Bad posture when eating
    – Overeating
    – Eating too fast
    – Consuming trigger foods like high refined carbohydrate or fatty meals, alcohol, spicy
    food, soft drink, tomato rich foods, garlic & onion.

So why would your lower oesophageal sphincter malfunction?

Low stomach acid is disastrous for good digestion. It creates a more alkaline environment where bacteria can thrive in the small intestine and impairs the release of enzymes that help us break down carbohydrates. Carbohydrate malabsorption and bacterial overgrowths in the small intestine both cause the production of large quantities of gas. This also creates physical abdominal pressure from beneath the stomach that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter’s ability to remain contracted and keep stomach contents where it belongs. 

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