Millions of people have experienced the acid reflux condition once or twice in their lifetime. This shows how common acid reflux is and in many instances it is no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of acid reflux on their own with lifestyle changes and other home remedies.
But if the acid reflux happens to be more frequent or interferes with your daily routine, this may be a cause for concern as it might be a more serious condition that requires medical care. It’s best that you seek immediate help if you experience such a feeling, especially when combined with other signs such as pain in the arm or jaw or difficulty breathing.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about acid reflux and how you can best overcome it.
What is Acid Reflux?
Also known as acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal (GERD), acid reflux is a condition in which food from your stomach acid comes back up from your stomach into the esophagus. This happens when the muscles where the esophagus meets the stomach do not close tightly enough. This condition features a burning pain, known as heartburn, in the lower chest area.
Main Causes of Acid Reflux?
A stomach abnormality known as hiatal hernia is the popular cause of acid reflux. This kind of abnormality happens when the upper part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) move above the muscle that separates your stomach from your chest, the diaphragm. In normal circumstances, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach.
There are many different causes of acid reflux disease, below are some of them:
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
- Snacking close to bedtime
- Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods
- Being pregnant
- Stress and anxiety
- Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea
- Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications.
What are the Symptoms of Reflux?
If you sound a little hoarse and your throat is sore, you may be bracing for a cold or flu. But if you're having symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, and dyspepsia, you might be having for a while, they might be caused by your lower esophageal sphincter –this means you will be at risk of having the acid reflux disease.
Heartburn is also known as acid indigestion. It can be described as burning pain or discomfort that comes from your stomach to either your chest or the middle of your abdomen. In some instances, the pain you feel can also move into your throat. Although it is known as heartburn, it has nothing to do with your heart.
Regurgitation, as indicated earlier, is also another common symptom of acid reflux. You can think of regurgitation as the sensation of acid backing up into your throat or mouth. When regurgitation happens, you are bound to feel a sour or bitter taste in your mouth, and sometimes you may even experience what is known as wet burps.
Dyspepsia is also another symptom or rather syndrome which is associated with acid reflux disease. In its simplest form, dyspepsia is a term that describes discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen. It is not regarded as a disease but rather a group of symptoms that often include bloating, discomfort, nausea, and burping. In the majority of cases, the symptoms of dyspepsia are burping, nausea after having eaten something, stomach fullness or bloating and upper abdominal pain and discomfort.
Besides the aforementioned symptoms, some of the signs that may indicate an acid reflux disease:
- Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting
- Dysphagia -- the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
- Hiccups that don't let up
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat
Despite the fact that acid reflux is rarely a serious disease and it is experienced by millions of people, you shouldn’t totally ignore its symptoms. Before you even consider taking over-the-counter antacid drugs, you should at least consider seeing a doctor first.
What Should I Do If I Have Acid Reflux?
Although there are many over-the-counter methods of treating acid reflux, it is dangerous to try and treat it on your own. We, as FlyMedi, recommend that you get hold of an expert doctor like Dr. Serkan Ayhan because some of the common symptoms like chest pain could be caused by a more serious health issue.
Yes, over-the-counter medications or some home remedies can help treat the acid reflux disease, but if your esophagus is loose, then you will need surgery to tighten it. It’s important to mention that surgery for acid reflux is usually the last resort that your doctor considers after trying different methods to relieve the condition.
There are several surgical options that may help to relieve GERD symptoms and manage complications. Speak with Dr. Serkan Ayhan for guidance on the best approach to manage your condition.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in Feburary 2020