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Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

6 Foods That Can Cause Reflux Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a secondary complication of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophagitis develops due to the combined action of stomach acids constantly eroding the epithelial lining and opportunistic bacterial infections.


It’s very important that people should avoid foods that aggravate the inflammation. In today’s article, we’re going to list the top food items that can worsen esophagitis and why you should avoid them.



Most people start their day with coffee but for the unlucky people with GERD, it’s not advised. Coffee has a lower pH and that means it’s more acidic. In addition to being acidic, caffeine also promotes the production of gastric acids than can further irritate the esophageal lining.




Chocolate candies and bars also contain significant amounts of caffeine. It’s a dietary exclusion for people with GERD and peptic ulcers as it works in the same way caffeine does.


Chocolate is basically a drug cocktail and contains substances that alter the nervous system’s normal functioning. It helps the brain stimulate the production of endorphins, serotonins, and dopamines (also colloquially known as “feel good” hormones). These hormones inhibit smooth muscle contraction, and if the esophageal sphincter fails to constrict properly, stomach acids can damage the esophagus which can lead to further inflammation.




Eating spaghetti or any pasta with tomato sauce in it can worsen cases of esophagitis. Tomatoes have both alkaline and acidic compounds and despite not being related to oranges, it contains substantial amounts of citrus acids.




Eggs are naturally alkaline foods and should help reduce the frequency of esophagitis. But they’re also rich in proteins and any food rich in protein will likely cause increased acid production.


Proteins induce strong acid production in the stomach because they’re resistant to being dissolved. Eggs also contain A LOT of fatty compounds, which also belong in the same category with protein in terms of inducing acid production.



5.Salty food.

Salty food may seem innocent in the eyes of people with GERD and esophagitis but slt has an unusual interaction in the stomach that can lead to a case of esophagitis.


Salt draws water from its surroundings and if there is enough sodium present in the stomach, it will start drawing out the water from the cells that make up the lining of the stomach and esophagus. To restore the naturally low pH of the stomach, parietal cells produce more hydrochloric acid which can trigger ulcers, heartburn, and esophagitis.




A mint or two to help the mouth smell less unpleasant after a drinking session is actually a bad idea for people with esophagitis. People with esophagitis and GERD should not be drinking alcohol in the first place.


Alcohol does a good job in dehydrating the body’s first response is to vomit excess amounts of the toxin. The combination of vomiting, the corrosiveness of alcohol, and stomach acids will increase the likelihood of developing esophagitis. And did we also forget to tell you about the bacteria?


Bacteria may become opportunistic when not in their usual habitat. In this case, gut bacteria that proliferate in the esophagus can lead to an infection and inflammation.



Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.


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