Did you know there's a connection between smoking and GERD for some?
How Does Smoking Affect GERD?
In patients with GERD, the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) does not function properly. The LES is a tube that runs from the esophagus to the stomach. Under normal conditions, food travels through the LES into the stomach. Once food reaches the stomach, the LES then closes to prevent any stomach acids from returning to the esophagus.
When the LES becomes weakened or damaged, the tube doesn't close once food has entered the stomach. The end result is the return of unwanted stomach acids to the esophagus, causing heartburn or acid reflux.
Smoking can damage the esophagus, leading to a high incidence of GERD among smokers.
In addition to weakening the LES muscle, smoking creates another disadvantage for patients. Under normal conditions, your saliva contains an optimum amount of bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is needed to help neutralize and dissolve stomach acid quickly.
Unfortunately for smokers, their body may produce only half the amount of saliva found in non-smokers. Less saliva means less bicarbonate, which results in the body taking longer to break down harmful stomach acids.