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How Can I Have an Irritable Bowel and GERD?

Statistically, it has been shown that there is a correlation between them with angry bowls and GERD. The overlap between IBS and GERD outweighs the individual presence of each symptom and studies have found that IBS is quite unusual in the absence of GERD.

Basically, does this mean that if you have IBS, there's a good chance that you also have GERD, Reflux Acid, or normal heartburn.

GERD basically occurs when stomach and acid content returns or reflux into the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that acts as a conduit for food swallowed from the mouth to the stomach. It is not normal for the stomach contents to absorb into the esophagus, as the normal esophagus or LES spinks are designed to only incorporate closed material.

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LES dysfunction may be due to anatomic anomalies, although this is not uncommon. It is more likely to trigger other triggers such as excessive acid, food intolerance, poor diet or other physical conditions, such as pregnancy or overweight.

Two of the most common causes of LES dysfunction may be stress due to hiatal hernia, which induces gastric acid overload or hypochlorhydria (insufficient stomach acid).

Without enough stomach acid, instead of food moving into the gut, it can be reflux back to the throat. There is a valve that opens to allow the stomach to move through the intestines, but it requires sufficient gastric acid to function.

GERD risk factors can cause an individual to develop symptoms of bowel syndrome, before fully demonstrating the effects of esophageal reflux. In the case of alcohol and smoking use, vasoconstriction can cause hypoxia (abnormal muscle movement) of the intestine, which affects the passage of impurities through the intestinal tract.

Vasoconstriction can also reduce the amount of blood circulating in the digestive system, which is why stomach inflammation can occur. When the contraction strengthens with alcohol consumption and excess alcohol intake, it increases the risk of gastric acid accumulation, thus, returning to the esophagus.

Pregnancy can worsen irritable bowel syndrome and lead to GERD. Increased pressure in the abdomen as the baby grows can lead to increased symptoms of GERD, as well as pregnancy associated with IBS as stress can irritate the hypersensitive gut.

So, although there is enough gastric acid, pressure can force it to release on the esophagus. The same effect can occur in those who are overweight.

Some types of foods also lead to the development of symptoms related to colon and GERD. Caffeine and high fat foods, as well as foods that promote gas, should be limited to reduce the symptoms of both conditions.


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