What is Acid reflux? Symptoms, causes, and treatment

what is acid reflux

What is Acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a common condition that leaves a burning pain in the lower chest area. It is also known as heartburn and acid indigestion. It happens when some of the acidic components go back up from the stomach to the food pipe. When acid reflux occurs more than twice a week it is determined as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Some unknown facts on what is acid reflux

what is acid reflux

  • Acid reflux is when some of the acid content of the stomach flows back to the esophagus, into the gullet, which moves food down from the mouth. It is known as heartburn but it has nothing to do with the heart.
  • The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which breaks down food and protects us from pathogens such as bacteria. The lining of the stomach is present to protect it from the powerful acid, but the esophagus is not protected.
  • The gastroesophageal acts as a valve that pass food into the stomach but not back up into the esophagus. When this valve fails, and stomach components are bought up back into the esophagus, the symptoms of acid reflux are felt, such as heartburn.
  • It gets worse when the person lays down or bend over. The pain can last for several hours and worsens after eating food.
  • The pain of Acid reflux may flow from stomach to neck and throat. Stomach fluid can reach back to the throat producing a bitter or sour taste and sometimes vomiting. 

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 How it can be controlled:

what is acid reflux

  • Control your weight so as to avoid being over-weight/Obesity.
  • Quit Smoking.
  • Physical exercise and yoga play an important part in controlling the disease.
  • Medication can help to a great extent. But do not self-medicate. Follow the instructions of your Doctor thoroughly.
  • Pregnancy can also cause acid reflux as during pregnancy extra pressure is being placed on the internal organs. Be careful and do not take any medicine without consulting your gynecologist.

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 Diet

what is acid reflux

You should avoid the following:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • A high intake of table salt
  • A diet low in dietary fiber
  • Eating large meals.
  • Consuming chocolate, carbonated drinks, and acidic juices in large quantity.

 The main treatment options for acid reflux are:

what is acid reflux

The main treatment for acid reflux are PPIs, H2 blockers, Alginate drugs, including Gaviscon. These medications are generally safe and effective, but like any prescription drug, they are not appropriate for all people with reflux disease and can cause side effects. You should always consult your doctor before taking any medicine.

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 The Lifestyle changes that can help in acid reflux:

what is acid reflux

  • Improving posture, for instance, sitting up straighter
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Losing weight if overweight or obese
  • Try to reduce the intake of chocolates, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Elevate the head of your bed. You could use an extra pillow.
  • Try to avoid eating for around three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoiding wearing tight belts or doing sit-up exercises more as it will pressurize your stomach.
  • Quit smoking

 Symptoms

Acid reflux causes Stomach pain, burning pain in the lower chest.

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 Other symptoms of GERD

what is acid reflux

Dry, persistent cough, Asthma, recurrent pneumonia, Nausea, Vomiting, Throat problems, such as soreness, hoarseness, or laryngitis (voice box inflammation), Difficulty or pain when swallowing, Chest or upper abdominal pain, Dental erosion, Bad breath.

Risks and complications

Without treatment, acid reflux or GERD can lead to serious complications including the risk of cancer.

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Disclaimer: This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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