What Smoking Does to Your Digestive System

Smoking killsSmoking can cause all kinds of problems in your lungs and your heart.

But did you know that it also severely affects your digestive system?

Smoking can contribute to problems like GERD, acid reflux, heart burn, peptic ulcers and can even increase the risk of polyps, Crohn’s Disease, and pancreatitis.

The Cause of Your Heartburn

One of the biggest ways smoking affects your digestive system is by weakening the muscle between your esophagus and stomach. The muscle, called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (or LES) is what keeps the contents of you stomach from flowing back up the esophagus (heartburn). This is what can cause serious damage to your esophagus.

 

Damaging your Esophogus

While your stomach is protected from the acids in it that are there to break down your food, your esophagus is not. When acid comes up through your esophagus because of a weakened LES, not only do you experience heartburn, you can also risk damaging your esophagus and causing more problems like GERD or Acid Reflux Disease.

 

Increased Risk for Ulcers

Some studies show that smoking can cause a reduction in the amount of neutralizing stomach acid your body needs. Other studies have shown that smoking may in fact increase the amount of acid secreted by the stomach, which could in time cause ulcers.

Another bodily function smoking interferes with is the movement of bile salts. Bile salts move from the intestine to the stomach. Interfering with the movement of bile salts can cause your stomach acid to become more acidic which can further damage your esophagus.

Smoking is serious business. It causes damage to just about every organ in your body. One in every five deaths in the United States is smoking related. Why not make today the day you quit and turn your health around?

 

Further Reading:

Alcohol and Your Digestion

How to Make the Most Out Of Your GI Doctor Visit

8 Common Questions About Probiotics and Digestive Health