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Can Acid Reflux Cause Weight Gain?

Acid reflux is a known condition that is for the most part associated with heartburn. It often happens to people practicing unhealthy lifestyles, and those who don’t have healthy eating habits. When food enters the stomach, a band of muscle known as the LES or the lower esophageal sphincter, which connects the stomach and the esophagus, automatically seals up to prevent acids from flowing back up the track.

can acid reflux cause weight gainOnce this sphincter weakens or is not properly functioning, there is a greater possibility for acid reflux to occur.

Heartburn is the major symptom of acid reflux, which is felt once the gastric acids reach the esophageal track.

The patient suffering from this condition will feel tightening and burning feeling within the chest, which often extends even throughout the neck and the throat.  

Causes and symptoms of Acid Reflux

There are a lot of causes that can trigger acid reflux. Sometimes the triggering factors come from the type of food we eat and it can also be determined through our lifestyle. Too much smoking and drinking alcohol are definitely among the causes of this condition.

Caffeine and carbonated drinks are also not advised especially when you already have an existing case of acid reflux. There are also some fruits and other types of food which stimulate acids in the stomach and add to the cause of the condition.

Acid Reflux and Weight Gain

Obesity can be one of the reasons why acid reflux shows up often in some people. However, some people claimed that acid reflux also causes weight gain. Another form of acid reflux is a severe case known as GERD or the Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. This type of condition is difficult to treat and causes more pain to sufferers. Some studies show a direct link between GERD and weight gain, although the increase in weight does not significantly place one in the overweight category. This is according to a research report by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Another study, whose author was known as Dr. B Jacobson of Boston University School of Medicine, USA, proves that any increase in weight has an equivalent negative effect on a person’s health, even if the weight still qualifies as normal. He said that a person in this condition is more prone to GERD. Of course as mentioned before, it is quite known to us that obesity contributes to the causes of acid reflux. The results of the said study showed the direct association of both. It is not that acid reflux causes weight gain, but that weight gain increases the percentage of acid reflux to occur.

In the study, a survey was conducted involving 10,545 women. They were asked about the frequency, as well as the severity of their GERD. They were also asked how long they had this condition. The women were categorized according to their BMI or body index mass and the results were compared and evaluated to see whether there was any link between weight gain and acid reflux.

Results of the survey were as follows: 

  1. From all of the women who suffered from GERD at some point, 22% had GERD symptoms occurring once or several times a week. Out of this percentage, 55% were considered as moderate in terms of BMI.   
  2. Women who have body index mass of less than 20 are proven to be less prone to GERD by 33%, compared to those who have BMIs of 20 up to 22.4.   
  3. It was shown that women with a body mass index of 22.5-24 have a higher risk in developing symptoms of GERD. The percentage increased by 38%, compared to other subjects. Women with BMIs 25 and above are considered as overweight.  

It is therefore recommended that a person suffering from the symptoms of GERD should focus on losing weight if he or she fits within the ranges noted among the earlier results. This will help alleviate the condition, especially when one notices an increase in the severity of symptoms after gaining a few pounds. Having an ideal weight has its own advantages not only in how we look physically, but also in avoiding certain diseases such as heart problems, cancers and diabetes. 

As health experts advice over and over, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and keeping a balance in our body is the best way to get rid of unwanted conditions such as acid reflux and other symptoms that causes pain and can hinder us from doing the things we want. Keeping your weight in check is among the things that will surely benefit you in the end.