ZocdocAnswersCould the change I made in my diet be causing acid reflux?

Question

Could the change I made in my diet be causing acid reflux?

I decided to start eating meat again after being veggie for a year or so. I feel bad about going back and now I have like an acid feeling the back of my throat. Is this reflux? Heartburn? Should I just cut out the meat again?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you are having symptoms that you are worried may be reflux related. I don't know that I can give you recommendations about whether you should start eating meat again after being a vegetarian for such a long time, as that is a personal preference. What I can do is give you some general information about reflux and help you make an informed decision about how best to manage your symptoms. Gastroesophageal disease (GERD) is a disease process in which there is mucosal damage within the esophagus due to refluxing of gastric contents from the stomach. There is something called the lower esophageal sphincter which is a muscular valve at the bottom of the esophagus which is supposed to help keep gastric contents in the stomach. There are many different theories on how reflux occurs, but they can be grossly generalized into groups; overproduction of stomach acid, functional/anatomic problems (like a "loose" lower esophageal sphincter). There are certain foods that are known to relax the esophageal sphincter (like chocolate and peppermint), and there are also certain foods that are known to strongly stimulate acid production (like the amino acids in protein). This could be the reason that you are now experiencing reflux-like symptoms now that you have again started eating meats. I would recommend that you make an appointment with a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) to be evaluated and tested to see if you have reflux, as there are potential detrimental effects to untreated reflux disease. I hope that this information is helpful. Best of luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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