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Acid Reflux Symptoms,Causes and Remedies

Updated on November 22, 2015
Gastric Reflux
Gastric Reflux

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the esophagus which moves food down from the mouth.

The stomach contains a strong acid, hydrochloric acid, to help with the efficient digestion of food and to protect against, for example, bacteria.

The lining of the stomach is specially changed to fit produce this acid, and also to protect the digestive organ against its own acid secretion (release of fluid) - but the higher gut is not protected from this acid.

What causes acid reflux? What causes GERD?

We all may experience pain from stomach acid occasionally, often connected with certain food and drink. People who experience heartburn at least two to three times a week may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.


Gastroesophageal stomach-acid pain disease is seen in people of all ages, sometimes for unknown reasons. Often the cause is because of a way of living factor, but it can also be due to effects that cannot be prevented.

In addition those who are smokers, alcoholics, take pain relievers like Ibuprofen and consume a spicy or high fat diet, are obese, overweight or pregnant, are at a greater risk of getting acid reflux and heartburn.

In addition caffeine containing foods like chocolates, coffee and peppermint also weaken the LES. Some people get heartburn when they bend over or lie down.

The frequency of stomach acid reflux varies from one person to another. The risk rises with age and may significantly decrease quality of life and overall well-being.

Common Symptoms

Heartburn

When acid refluxes back into the esophagus in patients with GERD, nerve fibers in the esophagus are stimulated. This nerve stimulation results most commonly in heartburn, the pain that is characteristic of GERD. Heartburn usually is described as a burning pain in the middle of the chest. It may start high in the abdomen or may extend up into the neck. In some patients, however, the pain may be sharp or pressure-like, rather than burning. Such pain can mimic heart pain (angina). In other patients, the pain may extend to the back.

Regurgitation

Regurgitation is the appearance of refluxed liquid in the mouth. In most patients with GERD, usually only small quantities of liquid reach the esophagus, and the liquid remains in the lower esophagus. Occasionally in some patients with GERD, larger quantities of liquid, sometimes containing food, are refluxed and reach the upper esophagus.

Nausea

Nausea is uncommon in GERD. In some patients, however, it may be frequent or severe and may result in vomiting. In fact, in patients with unexplained nausea and/or vomiting, GERD is one of the first conditions to be considered. It is not clear why some patients with GERD develop mainly heartburn and others develop mainly nausea.

Less Common Symptoms

Sore Throat, Cough – Nocturnal reflux, especially after late-night food or alcohol intake, may reach the throat without waking you up. The refluxed gastric contents irritate sensitive tissues causing a sore throat, a need to “clear the throat,” and cough.

Acid Laryngitis – Occasionally, gastric juice may reflux through the esophagus and upper esophageal sphincter and spill into the larynx, or voice box. The ensuing inflammation causes laryngitis and hoarseness. Damage to the larynx is sometimes visible through a scope.

Diagnosis may be difficult. Sometimes there is no heartburn to warn the individual of a reflux episode.

Nocturnal Choking – Some people awake an hour or so after going to be with attacks of choking and retching. Acid and sometimes food appear in the throat and there is severe burning.

Tooth Problems – There are several reports, mostly in children, which suggest that stomach acid can cause problems with tooth enamel. However, this appears to be extremely rare

Sinusitus – There is controversy about whether GERD can contribute to chronic sinusitis, although most of the data suggests that there is no relationship. It is more likely that sinusitis and GERD are confused with each other, rather than that GERD causes the sinusitis. Both problems can be associated with sore throats, and chronic cough.

Asthma – There is a relationship between non-allergic (non-seasonal) asthma and GERD. Respiratory symptoms such as coughing or wheezing produce reflux by sudden, violent pressure changes in the chest and abdomen. Reflux also may occur during the deep inhalation taken before forceful exhalation by a person with asthma.

Have your ever experienced Acid Reflux or GERD ?

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Home Made Remedies for Acid Reflux

1. A spoonful of baking soda…

A spoonful of sodium bicarbonate, or teaspoon-full to be exact, can help put an end to the gnawing, burning, sensation of heartburn caused by acid reflux. Baking soda, as sodium bicarbonate is more commonly known, can help your reflux and in turn help your heartburn because it is a base substance. It has a pH higher than 7.0, and therefore neutralizes stomach acid. Neutralizing the stomach acid means that if/when your LES decides to be lazy and acid comes up your throat, you don’t get “burned.”

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight increases your risk of GERD, and you’re going to suffer from occasional heartburn a lot more as well. This is because unnecessarily added pounds will put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. It will be more likely to loosen, and overtime it may simply weaken.

3. Avoid cigarettes and smoking

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can set you up for terrible reflux. The nicotine and alcohol both work to weaken your LES, making it that much easier for stomach contents and acid to splash up into your esophagus. Alcohol is also going to irritate your stomach in general. The solution? Quit smoking, and drink less (if at all.) Doing both will improve your health overall, in addition to relieving acid reflux.

4. Chin up (and don’t lie down)

Heartburn tends to get worse at night, thanks to the fact that you’re lying down when you sleep. Gravity works against you, and it’s easier for the digested contents of your stomach to back up into your esophagus, along with acid. Try elevating your head about 6 inches when you sleep by placing bricks, books, or blocks under the legs at the head of your bed. You could also try a wedge-shaped pillow under your mattress, but doesn’t simply pile up extra pillows as it’s easy to slip off of them at night. Don’t lie down within 3-4 hours after eating, because lying down with a full stomach makes stomach contents press harder against your lower esophageal sphincter.

5. Drink Lots of water

Water can dilute gastric acids and help wash away any build-up of acid in the esophageal lining. Drink at least two glasses of water after each meal.

6. Chew Gum

Chewing a sugar-free gum for thirty minutes after a meal alleviates symptoms of acid reflux.

7. Aloe Vera Juice

Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce an inflammation in the gut. Try drinking half a cup of aloe juice before meals.

8. Fennel Seeds

Chewing about half a teaspoon of fennel seeds after a meal supresses stomach spams and therefore reduces reflux symptoms.

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