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You probably hear a lot about acid reflux, or perhaps you suffer from it yourself. But what exactly is acid reflux? Well, right at your stomach opening is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES opens and closes as it’s supposed to, but sometimes it messes up.
When that happens, your stomach acid can occasionally escape and flow backwards—that is, up into your esophagus—and if you’ve ever experienced reflux, you know you’re left with some pretty uncomfortable feelings. Not only is it acutely painful, but it can lead to serious health consequences.
Facts about Acid Reflux
Many over-the-counter medications on the market work to fight acid reflux after it starts, and it usually works. The issue with these drugs, however, is that they’re only treating symptoms of the disorder. Regardless of how much you use, symptoms usually flare back up, leading to an endless cycle of drug dependency.
Even the commercials for these medications make it look like you can eat whatever you want as long as you have drugs in-hand. Let’s look at the 4 most shocking facts about acid reflux:
1. Spicy Food Doesn’t Trigger Acid Reflux
All that spicy food you thought led to acid reflux? Well it turns out that might not be the trigger at all. A recent study from the director of Stanford’s Esophageal and Small Bowel Disorder Center suggests that only an unlucky few will actually have reflux triggered by certain foods.
2. Acid Reflux Ruins Sleep and Causes Sleep Apnea
If you’ve ever tried to sleep with reflux symptoms, this might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s recent evidence suggesting acid reflux can significantly affect quality of sleep. The same research also suggests it could cause an even serious disorder like sleep apnea. Not only that, but the widespread effects can take their toll on overall quality of life—leading to loss of work productivity and increased economic burdens.