The nicotine in cigarette smoke can reduce the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to contract or close, allowing acid to reflux. The LES is a muscle that keeps acid produced in the stomach from entering the esophagus. Anything that relaxes this muscle (cigarettes, alcohol, foods, or medications) causes the esophagus to be exposed to acid. Studies have shown that smoking increases irritation of the esophagus when acid refluxes and increases symptoms of heartburn. Cigarette smoke, particularly nicotine, can dry out your mouth, which decreases saliva production. You swallow saliva constantly, and this aids digestion of food and lubricates the esophagus. Saliva neutralizes acid and is protective when stomach acid refluxes into esophagus by helping to clear it.
Fried, greasy, or fatty foods: These foods tend to slow down digestion and keep food in your stomach longer. This can result in increased pressure in the stomach, which in turn puts more pressure on a weakened LES. All of this allows reflux of what’s in your stomach. Spicy foods and black pepper stimulate stomach acid production. PPIs and H2 blockers decrease acid production and reduce the potential for damage caused by acid reflux. Irritated esophagus: Tobacco smoke has been shown to irritate and inflame the esophageal lining, causing and intensifying that all-too-familiar burning sensation.
This move will, however, stop the damage that smoke does to your esophagus and decrease your risk for lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. So, don’t hesitate to switch over to patches or gum, especially if it’s the first step on your journey to quitting tobacco all together. Reduced pressure of the LES: Again, nicotine is the primary culprit, because it reduces pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES is too lax, it allows stomach acid to creep up into your throat. No bueno. Smoking is a dangerous habit that can result in many health risks. Smoking is associated with many cancers, heart disease, vascular disease, stomach ulcers, and lung disease, to name a few. Some studies have shown a link between smoking and acid reflux. Even though smoking does not directly cause acid reflux, it can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
In many cases, lifestyle changes combined with over-the-counter medications are all you need to control the symptoms of acid reflux disease. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia This occurs when the upper part of the conversational tone stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia , acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.