Does drinking coffee irritate acid reflux?

Drinking coffee can contribute to acid reflux because the caffeine in the coffee relaxes a ring-like muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter or gastroesophageal sphincter, that exists between the lower part of the esophagus and the stomach. Normally, this sphincter helps to keep food and liquids in the stomach. When the sphincter is relaxed by the caffeine in coffee, it is easier for food to "reflux" or travel back into the esophagus along with acid from the stomach, which can cause further irritation.

It can for certain people. Science shows a faulty valve in the digestive tract causes acid reflux, not any one food. Doctors generally tell people who have acid reflux to avoid coffee and acidic beverages like orange juice and alcohol - but if you can tolerate coffee or these beverages without experiencing symptoms, then it's OK to drink them in moderation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.