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The impact of acid reflux on the process of digestion

The impact of acid reflux on the process of digestion

The process of digestion is one of the most important functions of the human body. The proper digestion of food leads to effective absorption of nutrients into the blood stream. The nutrition that human beings derive from food allows them to carry out the routine physical and mental activities in an uninterrupted manner. However when the swallowed food doesn’t get digested properly then diseases related to malnutrition are bound to occur. Delineating the process of effective assimilation of food

Before delving into the problems that deters proper absorption of food it is important to know the process of simplification of food particles in detail. The process is briefly described through the following points:

  • The first phase of food digestion occurs when it enters the mouth. The bite of food is grinded by the teeth and softened with saliva. The cutting and grinding action of the teeth masticates the food into smaller particles and the tongue helps in the formation of the food bolus. The saliva contains an enzyme known as ptyalin. The presence of this enzyme ensures the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. As it is a form of amylase so it effectively converts the starch compounds into simple sugar.
  • The bolus which is partially digested food is then pushed towards the long tubular structure that leads towards the stomach. This elastic tube is called esophagus. Food is not simplified in the esophagus; it simply transports the food bolus from the mouth to the stomach by virtue of a specific motion known as peristalsis. This motion relaxes the esophageal tube below the food bolus and constricts the tube above the food bolus. In this way the partially simplified food easily reaches the stomach. Esophageal Cancer can lead to difficulty in passing food from the mouth to the stomach. Excessive pain and expulsion of blood from the mouth while eating food can be observed if a person is affected by cancer of the esophagus.
  • Once the food contents reach the LES sphincter present at the end of the esophagus the food is allowed to pass into the stomach. The digestion and bacterial elimination takes place in the stomach and for removing bacteria or pathogens from the food bolus acid is secreted by the stomach.
  • After the removal of pathogens and simplification of food through churning the contents are passed through the small intestine where succus entericus is secreted for furthering digestion and absorption. Digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreas are also introduced in the small intestine. The assimilated food that is ready for absorption is absorbed through the intestinal mucosa containing capillaries.
  • The remaining matter is passed onto the large intestine where absorption of water takes place and the waste product is eliminated from the body.

Symptoms of malignant cells in the esophagus

It is a form of cancer that affects the food pipe. The cancerous infection can be localized or it can spread throughout the food pipe. The common symptoms which are associated with esophageal cancer include the following:

  • Mild to excruciating pain while swallowing food.
  • The pain radiates towards the back or might seem like a diffused pain in the thoracic region depending upon the position of cancer formation.
  • Throwing up food and blood from the mouth.
  • The inability to swallow a food bolus.
  • Loss of weight and a sense of fatigue due to decreased food intake.

According to the stage of the cancer the severity of the symptoms will increase and it is important to detect the signs as early as possible so that proper treatment can be sought in time.

The complications caused by acid reflux

This whole process of digestion depends on the harmonious activity of a specific set of organs if any particular organ doesn’t perform its function correctly then the whole process will get affected. Acid reflux is an ailment that severely affects digestion by allowing the reverse flow of food from the stomach to the esophagus. Even though it is quite common but repetitive bouts of acid reflux can cause irreparable damage.


It has been observed that all people are not equally affected by consuming food products known to cause acid reflux. Hence it can be assumed that the overall health and immunity of a person is a determinant in case of acid reflux. People who have stronger immunity power might be less prone to acid reflux problems whereas individuals who frequently suffer from ailments might have tenacity for developing acid reflux even after consuming normal food.

Devising a suitable plan for dealing with acid reflux

The Best Acid Reflux Diet Plan can be developed by keeping the following things in mind:

  • Portioning large meals into smaller ones.
  • Avoiding food products that are known to cause irritation or have caused acid reflux in the past.
  • Using raw papaya as a natural product for lowering indigestion problems. This can be done by incorporating raw papaya in salads.
  • Timing the meals properly and trying to follow the meal times as far as possible.
  • Avoiding consumption of sweets right after having a meal.
  • Caffeine is to be avoided for people who suffer from chronic acid reflux.
  • Limiting unhealthy snacks for appeasing hunger. Using whole fruits or nuts instead of fried snacks is a healthier option which will also lessen the chances of developing acidity.
  • Avoiding late dinner or heavy meals at night. Some individuals often have beverages like hot chocolate after dinner but the effect of hot chocolate on the sphincter muscles of the stomach can cause the back flow of food contents into the esophagus.

Often people neglect the irritation caused by acid reflux by deeming it as a common disease but the upward flow of acidic contents into the food pipe corrodes the epithelium of the esophagus. If the problem is not checked then the food pipe can become inflamed and this can become a portent cause of cancer. Hence it is advisable to take care and maintain a diet that doesn’t trigger an acid reflux reaction.


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