How Alcohol Affects Acid Reflux

11. 30. 2017

If you are trying to find natural ways to reduce acid reflux, you have probably already considered limiting foods that are acidic, spicy or fried. That is a good place to start, but there is something else you may have forgotten – alcohol.

Alcohol can aggravate reflux and contribute to symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Beer, wine, hard liquor and champagne can all stimulate the increased production of gastric acid, which lowers the pH of your stomach. Increased acidity can irritate the lining of the stomach and increase reflux. Alcohol also relaxes the ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that closes off the stomach from the esophagus. When the LES is relaxed, swallowing contractions become increasingly erratic and undigested food and gastric acid can leak into the esophagus.

You do not have to completely give up alcohol if you have reflux, but it is probably wise to have a good understanding of how alcohol affects your symptoms. You may want to try eliminating alcohol completely for just a short period of time so you can assess how you feel. If you do not notice any changes after eliminating alcohol, try some lifestyle modifications like quitting smoking, staying upright after eating, losing some weight and eating smaller meals. The worst type of alcohol for heartburn is red wine, so avoid red wine for celebrations and special occasions.

If it has been a while since you have visited your doctor to discuss your heartburn symptoms, it is probably time to make another appointment. Your doctor will be able to provide advice on diet and lifestyle changes to help you prevent reflux.

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