Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Which foods cause acid reflux?"
My stomach hurts when I eat some foods like pasta and orange juice. Is this acid reflux?
Discomfort after eating goes by many names from heartburn to indigestion to acid reflux, and though the causes are not all the same there are many similarities. Heartburn or indigestion is generally given the medical term dyspepsia and can result from a stomach or intestinal ulcer. Acid reflux is slightly different, though it can also be termed dyspepsia, and is caused by the incomplete closure of the connection between the esophagus and the stomach. This allows acid to travel out of the stomach, where it generally does not cause damage thanks to an acid-proof lining, into the esophagus where it can erode the lining and cause pain and changes to the type of cells lining the esophagus. Though everyone is different, there are a number of foods that are especially prone to causing dyspepsia. Among these the most common are coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Other common foods are those that have a high acid content such as citrus fruits and juices like the orange juice you drink and tomatoes that are in pasta sauce. For other people spicy and fatty foods can be triggers. One non-food that can also contribute to indigestion is tobacco smoke, and quitting smoking can be especially helpful for this as for many other conditions. The most important thing you can do is create a small log of the foods that cause your symptoms and then avoid them as much as possible or if you are going to eat them to take an antacid beforehand. Please talk with your primary care physician, who can best evaluate your symptoms and discuss your options. Good luck!
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