The Causes Of Acid Reflux Disease and Treatment

Everyone suffers from the odd bout of heartburn. This is normal, as we enjoy our food, and often overindulge in foods that we know, from experience, may give us occasional unpleasant twinges. Acid Reflux is more than an unpleasant twinge. Acid Reflux is an extremely painful condition that besets many, especially those that are unwilling to take even simple measures to avoid or eliminate it.


WHAT IS ACID REFLUX?

When food enters the stomach it is set upon by powerful digestive acids which are a normal part of the digestive process. The lining of the stomach is protected from these acids but the lining of the esophagus, a pipe-like structure, leading from the throat to the stomach, is not. Normally this is of no concern as a valve keeps these acids from moving from the stomach up the esophagus. However, in some individuals, this valve has become weakened and does not remain tightly closed. Stomach acids are then able to seep up the esophagus and cause the discomfort and pain, known as heartburn.


COMPLICATIONS

If this seepage occurs frequently, it can, over a period of time, scar the esophagus, make swallowing difficult, and cause more dangerous conditions such as cancer. If your Acid Reflux is frequent and severe, you will need to be under the care of a physician so do not delay seeking medical advice.


IRRITANTS

There are foods that do seem to cause or at least aggravate Acid Reflux. Some of these are beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Many individuals say these foods make them burp, which in itself is harmless as long as there is no lasting discomfort. Other foods that seem to be a problem are spicy foods, garlic, tomatoes in any form, citrus fruits, and pineapple. Troublesome spices include curry, and black and chili pepper. Drinks include coffee, tea, sodas and alcohol.

Some conditions also seem to cause or at least intensify Acid Reflux. These include pregnancy, hiatal hernias, ulcers, and lack of sufficient digestive enzymes. Only your doctor can tell you if you have some of these problems and decide if they affect your Acid Reflux and how they should be dealt with.


THINGS YOU CAN DO TO DEAL WITH YOUR ACID REFLUX

Avoid overeating. If necessary, eat more frequent but smaller meals. Never eat until you feel full.

Stop smoking or at least cut down. This is the habit most closely related to Acid Reflux.

Avoid lying down until at least two hours after eating. This will help prevent the undigested stomach contents from leaking into the esophagus.

Avoid wearing tight belts, pants or skirts with tight waist bands, which might put added pressure on the stomach.

Avoid alcoholic beverages which relax the lower esophageal sphincter (valve) and also increase the production of stomach acid. If you feel you must consume some alcohol, dilute it with club soda or water. Drink a glass of water between drinks and always choose white wine over red.

Stop smoking if at all possible. The sphincter muscle is weakened by the chemicals contained in cigarette smoke.

Avoid the foods, spices, and drinks, as listed above, which have been found to aggravate Acid Reflux, as these are all prone to relax the esophageal sphincter. Avoid fatty foods as well.


TREATMENTS

You may find that by using the advice given above you can control your Acid Reflux. You may also use antacids occasionally. If you are still not getting relief and your Acid Reflux is interfering with your ability to enjoy life, you would be wise to seek medical advice.

Taking into consideration your general health, and any other medical conditions, you may have, your physician will prescribe the most suitable treatment for you.

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