Obesity and Acid Reflux

  • As a nutritionist I am required to tell you that obesity is putting millions at risk for debilitating disease and even early death.  In 2005 a review of previous research on GERD showed a very strong correlation between the severity of GERD and a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI).  As the person’s BMI rose so did their rate of complications from GERD. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/28487.php).

     

    There are many theories as to why this may be the case.  One is that the excess weight puts pressure on the LES causing it to relax and reflux stomach contents.  Another theory is that the excessive consumption of fatty foods could be the culprit.

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    According to a recent study in 2006 these theories may not hold true equally for men and woman.  A research group in Rome noted that the obese women in their study were far more likely to have an increase in GERD symptoms and theorized this may be due to higher levels of oestrogen, which is known to relax the LES.  Oestrogen can be higher in obese females than in average weight counterparts  (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/82653.php). 

     

    While these findings still do not provide a clear cut causal relationship between obesity and GERD it is important that patients consider their weight in their overall health processes.  Obesity is, at the least, a strong trigger for many adults dealing with GERD.  If you are obese and dealing with GERD it is important to talk with your physician about the issue. 

     

    It is wise for anyone dealing with obesity to develop a feasible plan to shed excess pounds.  Starting with a small goal and then setting a new one once the first is met can help make the task seem less daunting.  Adding moderate exercise to the plan, such as walking, can aid in the permanent success of your program as well (See our Diet and Exercise site for more information).  Remember that although obesity has not been proven to cause GERD it has been linked with numerous additional health problems.  It is very important for everyone to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

     

     

Published On: September 08, 2008