Smoking and Acid Reflux
A new research study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology has found that people suffering from acid reflux found significant relief from the symptoms after quitting smoking. The study points out that the heart burn or acid reflux problem isn’t just related to eating but to other lifestyle habits, such as smoking.
Tobacco contains nicotine that is believed to relax the tight ring of muscle that connects stomach with esophagus, which is responsible for regulating passage of food into the stomach and preventing the acid from refluxing. Unfortunately, when you smoke, the relaxed lower esophageal sphincter, which is the body’s defense against GERD, can increase the risk of acid trickling into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
- Smoking also affects saliva production in the mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in digestion and contains an acid neutralizing agent/ bicarbonate that prevents acid reflux. The lack of saliva means the body has less amount of the bicarbonate and cannot neutralize the refluxed acid, thus irritating the gastrointestinal tract and causing heart burn.
- When you frequently suck on a cigarette, you end up swallowing air as well, increasing pressure on stomach. This condition encourages acid reflux.
- Cigarette smoking may cause problems for your body to produce a substance that helps in the prevention of stomach acid. Chewing tobacco causes severe heartburn, as the nicotine is released constantly.
- Smoking causes increased acid production in the stomach, which raises the risk of reflux of gastric juices into the esophagus. Not only this, smoking can stimulate and accelerate production of acid in stomach. There is a high risk of stomach acid becoming more intense and damaging, with the accelerated movement of bile salts from intestines into the stomach.
- As nicotine relaxes smooth muscle, it can disturb the muscles that help in the transfer of food to the esophagus and prevent it from the damaging acid reflux.
- Smoking can cause a severe harm to the mucus membranes and damage the esophageal lining that protects the esophagus from acid reflux.
- Smoking may cause a severe damage to the esophagus. As a result, there is a high risk of acid reflux.
- Smoking affects digestion, as the stomach takes longer for emptying itself.
Understanding the relation between smoking and acid reflux can help you find the best way to cure your symptoms and lead a healthy life.