Font Size

Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) (cont.)

What are causes of acid reflux (GERD)?

There are many factors that influence the symptoms of GERD. The following are contributing factors that weaken or relax the lower esophageal sphincter, making gastric reflux worse:

  • Lifestyle: Use of alcohol or cigarettes, obesity, poor posture (slouching)
  • Medications: Calcium channel blockers, theophylline (Tedral, Hydrophed, Marax, Bronchial, Quibron), nitrates, antihistamines
  • Diet: Fatty and fried foods, chocolate, garlic and onions, drinks with caffeine, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, spicy foods, mint flavorings
  • Eating habits: Eating large meals, eating quickly or soon before bedtime
  • Other medical conditions:  Hiatal hernia, pregnancy, diabetes, rapid weight gain

Hiatal hernia is a condition when the upper part of the stomach protrudes up above the diaphragm (the strong muscle that separates the organs of the chest from those of the abdomen).

  • Normally, the diaphragm acts as an additional barrier, helping the lower esophageal sphincter keep acid from backing up into the esophagus.
  • Hiatal hernia can be caused by persistent coughing, vomiting, straining, or sudden physical exertion. Obesity and pregnancy can make the condition worse.
  • A hiatal hernia makes it easier for the acid to back up.
  • Hiatal hernia is very common in people older than 50 years of age.
  • Hiatal hernia usually requires no treatment. In rare cases when the hernia becomes twisted or is making GERD worse, surgery may be required.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/12/2015
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD FAQs (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) FAQs Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by lifestyle factors (learn more >>
Heartburn FAQs
Heartburn FAQs Heartburn FAQ including information about the causes of heartburn, lifestyle changes to reduce heartburn, OTC and prescription medications to decrease heartburn...learn more >>
GERD and Heartburn Medications
Understanding Heartburn/GERD Medications GERD and heartburn medications include antacids, histamine-2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), coating drugs, and promotility drugs. Side effects, drug i...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Acid Reflux (GERD):

Acid Reflux (GERD) - Experience

Please share your experience with acid reflux or GERD.

GERD - Home Remedies

What lifestyle changes or home changes have you made that have been successful in managing GERD?

GERD - Symptoms and Signs

What were your GERD symptoms and signs?

GERD - Medical Treatment

What medical treatments have been effective in treating your case of GERD or acid reflux?

GERD - Medications

What over-the-counter or prescription medications have been effective in treating your case of GERD?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease »

Gastroesophageal reflux is a normal physiological phenomenon experienced intermittently by most people, particularly after a meal.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary