Caffeine vs. Acid Reflux
If you suffer from acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease (GERD), your GERD surgeon may have told you about the negative effects of caffeine consumption on acid reflux symptoms. Caffeinated beverages include coffee, soft drinks and some teas, and have the potential to exacerbate your acid reflux.
Caffeine can decrease the pressure of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).
Consuming caffeine can cause your LES or the valve that connects the base of the esophagus to the stomach to relax. When your LES correctly functions it allows food to enter your stomach after you eat, but closes to prevent acidic stomach contents from creeping back up into your esophagus. Caffeine has the potential to loosen or relax the LES, which can result in acid reflux. Chronic acid reflux can lead to permanent damage of the esophagus and your GERD surgeon in Macon may suggest reflux surgery as a treatment.
Caffeine can also escalate secretion of acidic stomach contents.
Consuming caffeine can also cause gastric irritation by stimulating the production of gastric acid. When the LES is weakened by caffeine, the tendency for such gastric acids to reflux into the esophagus is increased.
If you’re suffering from chronic acid reflux, it’s wise to speak with a GERD specialist for further evaluation. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to serious health conditions like Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precursor for cancer.
In the meantime, there are simple changes you can make to avoid reflux attacks such as not lying down after consuming a meal, staying away from spicy and fatty foods and limiting caffeine consumption. Though it’s best to drink plenty of water, some people still enjoy drinking beverages with some flavor.
Here are several decaffeinated teas that may help improve symptoms of acid reflux.
Decaffeinated Chamomile Tea
The leaves of a chamomile plant contain mucliages that may be beneficial for soothing the lining of the esophagus. Drinking decaffeinated chamomile tea a couple times a day may actually relieve inflamed or irritated mucous membranes in your digestive tract for acid reflux defense. Also, drinking this tea can promote normal digestion and alleviate symptoms of heartburn.
To prepare: Pour one cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried chamomile herb and steep for 15 minutes before straining. If you’re using teabags instead, make sure the tea is decaffeinated before preparing.
Decaffeinated Marshmallow Tea
This kind of tea may also alleviate discomfort caused by acid reflux. Marshmallow root, like chamomile herb, contains mucliages that can produce a soothing film on the lining of mucous membranes of the esophagus. Drinking a marshmallow root tea infusion may help reduce the burning sensation associated with acid reflux by countering stomach acidity for easier digestion.
To prepare: Pour up to five ounces of boiling water over approximately five teaspoons of dried marshmallow herb and steep for half an hour before consuming.
Though drinking decaffeinated teas such as the ones above may help alleviate associated acid reflux symptoms, they are by no means cures for GERD. Sufferers of chronic acid reflux should consult a GERD specialist for proper treatment before further health issues develop.