What Causes Acid Reflux Disease?

One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.

These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:

  • Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
  • Snacking close to bedtime
  • Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea
  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant
  • Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications

What Are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease?

Common symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • Heartburn: a burning pain or discomfort that may move from your stomach to your abdomen or chest, or even up into your throat
  • Regurgitation: a sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat or mouth

Other symptoms of acid reflux disease include:

  • Bloating
  • Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting
  • Burping
  • Dysphagia — a narrowing of your esophagus, which creates the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
  • Hiccups that don’t let up
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat