Current research indicates sixty million Americans currently suffer from acid reflux disease. Acid reflux occurs when the entrance valve to the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, is unable to close or opens too often, leaving the esophagus exposed to increased amounts of stomach acid. One of the most common causes of acid reflux is hiatal herniation, which is a separation of the upper stomach from the chest wall. Other known causes include eating large meals before lying down, obesity, smoking, drinking carbonated and alcoholic beverages, and eating spicy foods, citrus fruits, or fatty foods. Individuals who experience symptoms of acid reflux more than two times per week should seek assistance from a physician.
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One symptom of acid reflux is unrelenting hiccups. Hiccups can be annoying to the individual experiencing them and can occur without warning. Those with acid reflux may find hiccups especially annoying, as they may seem to go on without end. The cause for hiccups in acid reflux patients is the spontaneous contraction of the diaphragm, causing the patient to inhale air into the throat, irritating the voice box. For breathing to return to normal, the diaphragm must cease contractions. While not particularly dangerous, hiccups can be uncomfortable. Individuals experiencing extended periods of hiccuping can attempt to regulate their breathing or sip on cold water.
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