Symptoms And Causes of Acid Reflux

 

Pills for reflux symptoms

Contrary to popular belief, heartburn has nothing to do with the namesake’s organ. It actually has to do with the stomach area and its muscle ring called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES usually closes as soon as food enters, but when this part doesn’t close or keeps opening, acid is produced and can reach all the way into the oesophagus. At this instance, that chest pain most people term as heartburn occurs.

If you experience heartburn for more than two days in a week, then it’s likely your symptoms of acid reflux indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Apart from the typical symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux disease is also caused by hiatal hernia. This stomach abnormality occurs when the LES and stomach move in the upper area of the diaphragm. As a result, acid is not contained in the stomach.

Heartburn isn’t the only symptom of acid reflux disease. Other symptoms range from burping, bloating, bloody vomiting, dysphagia, non-stop hiccups, sudden weight loss, and nausea. Dental erosion, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), chest pain, asthma, regurgitation, and hoarseness are also included among the symptoms of acid reflux

Symptoms of Acid Reflux – list

  • Chest pains
  • Increase in pain discomfort when lying down
  • Pain after eating
  • Bitter acidic taste
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • Dental erosion
  • Asthma
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty swallowing – (dysphagia)

Whilst this is not a comprehensive list of the symptoms of acid reflux it includes some of the most common associated side effects of excessive heartburn or reflux.

Acid Reflux Symptoms – Causes

Apart from hiatal hernia, symptoms of acid reflux can be caused by other lifestyle factors. These include obesity (being greatly overweight), eating large meals then lying down straight after, eating snacks before going to sleep – as this is when the symptoms of the condition can be at it’s worst (this is where a wedge pillow might help), eating spicy foods -chili and chili powder before bed or other foods to avoid such as chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, vinegar, black pepper, tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce, ketchup etc. Pregnancy, drinking carbonated beverages or coffee, smoking, and blood pressure medications can also cause symptoms of reflux.

Causes – keypoints

  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatus hernia (hiatal hernia)
  • Asthma
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Smoking
  • Bending forward
  • Alcohol
  • Eating habits (diet)

Acid Reflux – Diagnosis

Several tests are made in case of severe symptoms of acid reflux. There’s the barium swallow or esophagram – a special x-ray that checks for a narrowing in the upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract which includes the esophagus & can include the stomach. To diagnose for problems, Barium sulfate is used which is a type of contrast medium that is opaque to X-rays. As the patient swallows the barium suspension, it coats the esophagus with a thin layer of the barium. This enables the hollow structure to be imaged.

Another test that checks your body’s esophagus function and lower esophageal sphincter is the esophageal manometry. Endoscopy also checks your esophagus but can also look into your stomach via a long, lighted tube entering your throat. pH monitoring can also be done to check your stomach’s acid levels.

Symptoms of Reflux – Life Changes

If you are regularly experiencing heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, then you may have to make several lifestyle changes. Expect to eat smaller meals within the day, to take naps during the day, stop smoking, and to stop wearing tight clothes. Obese or overweight individuals will have to take the necessary steps to lose weight. Eating will have to be done at least two hours before lying down or sleeping.

  • Don’t overeat
  • Eat slowly
  • Don’t go to bed with a full stomach
  • Avoid food & drink that could trigger reflux
  • Wear loose fitting clothes
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking

woman with refux pain

Acid Reflux – Medications

Your doctor might also prescribe certain medications to ease the acid reflux. These prescription medicines can be Prokinetics like Reglan or Urecholine to help empty the somach or H2 blockers like Zantac or Pepcid to lessen the stomach acid production. Proton pump inhibitors like Aciphex and Nexium are also prescribed to reduce the acid made by your stomach. Foaming agents like Gaviscon can also be taken to avoid future acid reflux occurrences. Be sure to take these prescriptions according to the doctor’s orders and not to take them simultaneously.  Given the respective effects of each medicine, having them work at the same time will probably end up making the situation worse, so a consultation with a medical professional is advisable before taking any combination of prescribed & non-prescribed medication.

 Medication key points

  • Antiacids
  • Prokeinetic agents
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Acid suppressants

Do you have a symptom of reflux that is not on the list?

Let us know by using the comment box below!

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About Creating Comforts

Did you know ...that in a 2009 Norwegian study the number of people who report living with the symptoms of acid reflux more than once a week increased from 31% to 40% by the end of the study!

12 Common Foods to Avoid To Prevent HeartBurn

man with reflux image 

Have you ever felt a sudden, throbbing pain on your chest that usually occurs immediately after your meals? This tight sensation may be minute or felt  for only a couple of seconds but for others, the pain may last longer and may reoccur more often.

What you may be experiencing is called “heartburn” and it affects at least twenty percent of the population. It is the reaction inside our stomach that occurs whenever acidic fluids pass by the oesophagus and in extreme cases is commonly known as acid reflux or gerd. The burning sensation that one feels is that acid crossing the lining. Its frequent occurrence can cause lasting effects and can be a serious health red flag if not accessed by a medical practitioner (you should seek medical advice if you suffer regular bouts of excessive heartburn, reflux).

While an overhaul of one’s unhealthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent heartburn, watching what you eat can be the crucial first step.

This article will provide you with the twelve sinful food choices you should not make in the battle to control reflux and excessive heartburn.

 

 Acid Reflux Diet – List of foods to avoid

 

Fried Food - a Reflux no no

 1.       Go Easy on the oil.

Simple logic will tell you that food drenched in oil, when introduced into the digestive system, will require more work for the intestines to digest.

Crispy food stuff does look enticing, but for a person prone to acid reflux too much oil can trigger heartburn. Instead of deeply fried food, go for their grilled (or better yet, steamed) alternatives. You can also remove the fatty part and lessen the risk of too much oil getting into your system.

 

Acid reflux avoid Spicy food

2.       Don’t bathe on the spices.

All those spices that make meals come alive — from salt to pepper to the simple spicy condiments — they are instant acid triggers! It is because spices, as strong as they are, create a hostile environment for our intestines. Even for people without acid reflux, use of too much salt may start their heartburn hell.

 

 

Beef increases hearburn

3.       Regulate your beef intake.

Another seemingly safe food is beef. While it is considered leaner and lesser in fat as opposed to pork, beefy foods such as the delectable T-bone steak is high in fat. As previously pointed out, too much fat is not good for the stomach.

It is thus best to go for the low fat beefy meals — those that are marinated or stewed — unless you want to feel those acidic juices seething through your intestines.

 

 

Cheese

4.       Skip the fillings.

All-time favourite butter and / or cheese, are culprits of heartburn too.

Cheese, for instance, while healthy and beneficial when taken in moderate doses, is high in fat. This type of food causes the stomach to relax which in turn, delays digestion. Even the low fat cheese types are capable of this.

When the stomach relaxes, it puts pressure on the oesophageal sphincter. We don’t want to quibble with the terminologies — it simply means that a relaxed stomach will mean acid will flow through. Butter is included in this sinful category.

 

Heartburn wowes! Garlic & onion

5.       Take a breather from garlic and onion.

Studies show that people with heartburn history should stray away from garlic and onion. Use some other alternative herbs (but NOT spices) to add flavour to your meals instead. (See: Number 2 for the main reason.)

 

 

 

Sweets & mints dont help heartburn reflux

6.       Don’t always reach for the mints.

After a satisfying meal, we usually reach for mints. Be it candies or a peppermint tea, we think it can ease the food we have just taken in. But the soothing effect of the mint and / or the rush of sweetness of the candies trigger’s acids to attack your insides.

 

 

 

Tomatos and excessive heartburn

7.       Moderate those red tomatoes.

Tomatoes are advertised as rich in everything. They are healthy for the heart and good for the skin and eyes. But for those with acidic insides — they should be crossed out from the menu. That includes the pasta sauce and salsa. Skip them or feel the wrath of tomatoes later at night when you wish to be resting.

 

 

Acid reflux & citrus fruits

8.       Remember that citrus fruits are acidic.

You ate a piece of orange for breakfast and you wonder why your stomach aches hours after. Any fruit from the citrus family are acidic. If you are prone to heartburn, or is not planning on experiencing one, skip feasting on any member of the citrus family in the morning. Take them only after a healthy and balanced meal, and always have them in moderation. Your alternative? Fruits that are high in alkaline such as pears, apples, melon and bananas!

 

Soft drinks effect on reflux

9.       Sodas are a No-no.

Beverages like sodas are not good if you suffer from occasional heartburns. Even the ones being packed as juices are also dangerous for anyone who do not wish to increase chances of suffering from acidic episodes. Water is still your best choice to wash down any food you have eaten.

 

 

 

Chocolate Heart

10.   Chocolates shouldn’t be your treat.

Chocolates are the ultimate pleasure-bringers, but they can also be bringers of doom. They are high in fat making them hard to digest and is also a relaxant — both of which are sure to trigger your burns inside.

 

 

 

Coffee bad for heartburn

11.   Coffee is not a solution.

Some patients swear that a cup of unsweetened black coffee can cure  heartburn. But from a medical point of view, it doesn’t.

For people with acid reflux, drinking coffee as part of a breakfast regimen won’t be harmful but taking them in later in the day will.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12.   Moderate the liquor.

There is a reason why we are advised against drinking without eating solid food first. Imagine pouring strong, acid-like liquid to your empty stomach — it’ll be like putting in acid on a cold empty container. It will “burn”. Same rule applies when you have eaten one spoon too many, and suddenly decided to drench it away with a glass of your classy wine. The wine is not really the culprit. It’s the mix of the full meat meal along with all the other usual offenders — pasta, tomato sauce — wine will then boost the acid reflux and cause severe stomach pain.

 

Summary

A quick scan of the contents of this article will show you two simple themes. First, that everything we eat should be taken in moderation. Most foods are beneficial as long as they are not abused. For people prone to heartburn, it pays to know the effects of the common food they take and work their way around it, mainly by avoiding them.

Secondly, that we should “listen” to the signals given by our body. There is a reason why our body sends us signals such as heartburn. It allows us to have a glimpse of what is happening inside us. Treat these signals as an early alarm system or a plea for help. Try and live a healthy lifestyle, and do not forget to consult a doctor in the severe of cases.

Acid reflux / heartburn is manageable, but it is up to you to free yourself from all of its symptoms just by  following some of these food avoidance tips will ensure a heartburn free lifestyle.

About Creating Comforts

Did you know that we are manufacturers of wedge pillows that will prevent stomach acid flowing back through the oesophagus whilst sleeping or lying down. You can find our range of bed wedges on our e-commerce site.