Specific Foods and Medications That Can Lead to GERD
Causes of GERD: Dietary Factors
Certain foods can either increase your likelihood of developing GERD or make your symptoms worse. These include:
- Fatty foods
- Tomato products
- Caffeinated or carbonated drinks
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Certain spices.
Some foods cause your lower esophageal sphincter to become weaker, and some cause your stomach to make more acid than usual. Both of these problems can increase acid reflux. Other foods can further irritate the lining of the esophagus after it's been damaged by reflux.
When you eat, and how much, can also cause problems. If your lower esophageal sphincter isn't working properly and you eat large meals, the level of food and acid in your stomach may be high enough for juices to back up into your esophagus. If your esophageal sphincter doesn't stay closed when it should, and you eat too close to bedtime, lying down can cause acid reflux.
Causes of GERD: Certain Medications
Taking certain medications can increase your likelihood of developing GERD, or cause your symptoms to get worse. These include:
- Certain birth control pills
- Tricyclic antidepressants used to treat depression
- Anticholinergic drugs used for treating a number of different conditions
- Calcium channel blockers used for treating high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia).
Calcium channel blockers and the hormones in birth control pills can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter and allow it to open when it should be closed. Tricyclic antidepressants and anticholinergic drugs can reduce saliva production and slow down digestion, making the stomach take longer to empty. All of these effects make it more likely for acid reflux to happen, and this can cause GERD symptoms to develop or become worse.