Acid Reflex or Heartburn?

Heartburn - gerd aka reflux

Acid Reflex or Heartburn? 9 Questions to ask yourself!

Although no stomach pain is easy to ignore, you may want to know if your pains are caused by heartburn or gastro oesophageal reflux, also known as GERD or simply acid reflux.

If it is heartburn that only occurs occasionally, you may be able to treat it with over-the-counter drugs or some changes in your lifestyle diet.

 

To distinguish whether you have heartburn or GERD simply answer the following questions:

1)  Have you had persistent symptoms for two weeks which cannot be relieved with over-the-counter medicines?

2) Is your heartburn continuously getting worse?

3) Are you unable to sleep because of the pain in your stomach?

4) Can it be difficult to swallow because you get the feeling of heartburn?

5) Does the feeling of heartburn continue even after over-the-counter drugs?

6)  If you are asthmatic, do you feel symptoms after meals, lying down, working out?

7) Do your asthma symptoms flair up at night?

8) Are you losing weight for no apparent reason or has your appetite vanished?

9) Are you unable to do your daily routine because heartburn is affecting you?

If the answer to any or many of these questions is yes, you need to see consult your doctor. This is most likely not simple heartburn. If left untreated, you could end with much worse medical issues such as narrowing of the oesophagus or even worse still Barret’s oesophagus, a pre-cancerous condition.

 

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Have you tried a reflux wedge pillow? It is a great alternative to medication or an operation.

[Infographic] Acid Reflux Guide All you Need to Know!

Acid Reflux Infographic

Info-graphic – Visual guide containing facts relating to Acid Reflux aka gastroesophageal reflux disease (gerd) that takes a look at;

  • The estimated number of sufferers from around the world
  • Symptoms of the condition
  • A clear definition of what reflux is
  • What causes acid reflux
  • Prevention of gastro-esophageal reflux
  • The testing and diagnosis of reflux
  • and Discusses the long term risks and the associated diseases that can result from exposure to long term untreated acid reflux.

Symptoms of acid reflux
Acid reflux is normally characterized by the unpleasant feeling in your chest and can be confused or called heartburn. It occurs due to the backward flow of the acid in the stomach into the esophagus, which is a tube that connects your throat to the stomach. Acid reflux is also called gastroesophageal reflux.

Acid reflux is one of the most researched health issues on the internet –  a common complaint that affects millions of people worldwide.

Causes of Reflux
Acid reflux is common in people of all ages and can sometimes occur due to no apparent cause. However, in most cases, it is linked to lifestyle factors. In some cases, it may occur to from effects that cannot be controlled such as pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancy may cause the acid in the stomach to be pushed upwards to the oesophagi. In addition, development of a hiatal hernia – an anatomical abnormality which causes the upper part of the stomach to insert into the chest cavity – may lead to acid reflux.

Some controllable risk factors may include obesity, active and passive smoking, too much alcohol, low fibre intake, lack of physical activity, medication such as painkillers, antidepressants and asthma drugs.

Common symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn and regurgitation – sour-bitter taste in the mouth. Other symptoms such as bloating, burping and nausea may result too.

Preventing Reflux
Having large meals before bedtime, being overweight and having certain foods and beverages such as citrus, spicy or oily food, alcohol, carbonated drinks and coffee are common causes of acid reflux as well.

Fortunately, acid reflux can be prevented by taking medications and following some lifestyle changes.

Click on the image to enlarge to full screen

info-graphic reflux image

Infographic – Acid reflux worldwide statistics & info

Click on the image to enlarge to full screen

Medication

If you suspect GERD or acid reflux due to it’s tell tale signs, try modifying your eating habits and taking OTC medications. If improving your lifestyle doesn’t help, see a doctor.
Your doctor will prescribe drugs that may improve symptoms.

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About Creating Comforts

Did you know ... That the symptoms of Acid reflux are exacerbated when lying down / sleeping. By using a wedge pillow (aka a bed wedge) to elevate your sleeping position by 6-8 inches can help eradicate some if not all of the symptoms.

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!

How a bed wedge pillow can help ease 5 common health issues.

 Health image

 

Good bed wedge pillow manufacturers design and make bed wedge’s based on the results of their extensive research obtained from the customer feedback that they receive over a period of time.

Based on the inputs received, they tend to  focus mainly on five major health conditions.

A properly well designed  wedge pillow should be able to aid in overcoming the pain associated with following ailments.

Specially designed pillow wedges are designed for number of specific medical condition.

Five health conditions which may require elevated sleep are:

1. Back Pain:

The bed wedge pillow should not only support the lower lumbar but also should be able to take the stress of the spine and back muscles. For back sleepers, there are specially designed memory foam wedge pillows.

The comfort bed wedge pillow with its well defined contour features should be much beneficial to side and back sleepers especially when it comes to maintaining the spine as straight as possible.

Back Pain image

2. Sleep Apnoea:

It’s a known health fact that for some people the muscles at the throat could cause limited air flow resulting in breathlessness during sleep.

Depending on the severity of the suffering, a specially designed CPAP pillow can be used along with a inclined wedge pillow &  CPAP device to restore breath and thus oxygenation is promoted during sleep.

It has a cut out for the breathing device and also take care of the neck and face as needed.

3. Acid Reflux:

In the medical world, this condition could lead to fatal conditions  if left undiagnosed as it can develop to a cancerous form known as Barrett’s oesophagus.

The condition is caused by back flow of the contents (acid) from the stomach to oesophagus when the stomach is at a level position, especially whilst in a resting position and a wedge pillow for acid reflux /gerd will help overcome this.

It can easily be adapted to fit on top of the  mattress and personal preference can lead to the wedges being placed under the mattress giving the same desired effect.

The advantage of wedge pillows being placed on top of the bed is that due to its narrow width is it does not effect the partner of the person with the condition.

reflux bed-wedge pillow

4. Knee/Leg Pain:

Patient recovering from leg surgery can by using a bed wedge pillow as a leg raise improve blood circulation and  maintain a comfortable leg position.

Often taken as an indication for varicose vein, lower leg pains are often caused by low blood circulation so a wedge will definitely help.

It is advisable to get the doctor’s permission before proceeding to use a knee  wedge pillow for patients who have had knee replacement surgery.

5. Snoring:

According to studies, when turned on our sides, a person stops snoring. Unfortunately its tough to stay on ones sides without proper support to the back and neck.

This is where contoured memory foam pillow,  snore stop pillow or a bed wedge pillow can help. It can elevate and cradle the head which can effectively halt snoring.

An adjustable sleep wedge with a smaller incline can support to a good extent the side sleepers and can tilt the head whenever needed to stop snoring.

Do you currently own  a bed wedge pillow?

How do you use yours?

Let us know by leaving your comments below!

About Creating Comforts

Did you know ...That due to their versatility, bed wedge pillows are a cost effective support aid!

Ways to Avoid Acid Reflux Symptoms

image of reflux symptom

Acid reflux – What are the the causes and symptoms?

Just as importantly: how do I control the symptoms and keep a bad situation under control?

For those dealing with this painful condition, this article will show you ways to both prevent and control your acid reflux and get some comfort.

If you have acid reflux symptoms, make sure that you let your dinner settle for three or so hours before you go to bed as this is the time that most feel it the most due to lying down. Allowing this time gap will allow the acid in your stomach to work and prevent the reverse flow of the stomach acid back through your oesophagus.

If at all possible try avoiding  drinking too much during meals. Quenching that thirst separately from your meals will slow down the effects of reflux. Drinking too much during meals can make you feel bloated. If you think you are hungry between meals, try having a drink first, you may find that satiates your need.

It is nice to relax after a meal, but do so sat up in a chair, not lying down. When you lie down, your stomach can push acid back up through the oesophagus. Any position that involves sitting or standing will give you a better chance of relief.

If you prop up the head side of your bed, your stomach will have a better chance of not backing up. If you raise the top of the bed more than six inches (achieved by placing “raisers” under the legs of the bed or the use of a bed wedge pillow  placed on or under the mattress), your body will feel some relief.

As if smoking does not cause you enough problems, here is one more reason to quit. If you have acid reflux, it can be made worse if you are a smoker. Smoking will affect your oesophageal sphincter that keeps the acid in the stomach. The smoking will also prevent the production of saliva and stymies the digestive process, which means stomach acid will remain longer.

You may think that tight fitting pants are a great way to avoid overeating. You may be right; however, pushing in that waist also will push in that stomach giving acid nowhere to go but inevitably back up past the oesophagus and which in turn will heighten acid reflux symptoms. Make sure your pants and any undergarments are loose enough to allow the digestive process to work unrestricted.

Exercise helps and is a superb way to avoid acid reflux symptoms. It will help you avoid carrying a spare tire around your waste. That unnecessary weight that you are carrying may cause acid reflux to flare up as the correlation of being overweight and acid back are well documented.

 

antacid pillsDo you realize that a food’s pH level has no impact on its ability to form acid in your stomach? Foods you might think are acidic could be more alkaline after you digest them. This causes a lot of confusion for many acid reflux / gerd sufferers. You should get to know the pH content in the food that you are eating if you suffer from acid reflux.

 

 

 

PH Levels in food may or may not aggravate an existing acid reflux condition. In fact, some foods become more alkaline when they enter the digestive tract. Working out which foods are good and which are bad foods for acid reflux,  do your research. To avoid the issues that might come from acidic foods, look up your favourite foods to see what their acid levels are.

 

Your mother was right what she said to slow down while you eat. You are not shovelling coal when you are eating. Make sure that your meal is fully chewed properly will help that it gest digested more easily. Focus on eating and stop when you are full. Enjoying the meal is not just a way to relax; it is a healthy way to avoid acid reflux.

Acid reflux can be soothed with cinnamon gum. Along with the gum itself, the chewing action will keep the stomach feeling better and allow the acid to work through the system.

As you can see above, acid reflux conditions can be relieved & controlled if you take the proper precautions. Take the time to review your eating and sleeping habits to see where you can make the changes that will make your life much more comfortable.

How do you control the symptoms of acid reflux or excessive heartburn (gerd)?

Let us know by leaving your comment below.

About Creating Comforts

Did you know ... About 1 in 3 adults suffer from heartburn once every few days, but that number is about 1 in 10 every day & is common in overweight persons, smokers, heavy drinkers, pregnant women & those in the 35-64 age bracket!

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.

Wedge Pillow – Quick Remedy For acid Reflux / Gerd

Sleepless nights for many of us are due to a multitude of reasons which may include

sleepless night reflux

Insomnia

Worries;

financial

work related

relationships

Acid Reflux & Excessive heartburn!

 

Heartburn or GERD can be exasperated when lying down, sleeping. Many expert physicians prescribe a wedge pillow  to those who suffer from the disease called GERD or even to those who sometimes feel a sensation of heartburn while they are asleep due to acid reflux.

Acid reflux refers to a disorder wherein the digestive acid present in our stomach starts moving upwards towards and seeps through the oesophagus area creating an uncomfortable feeling which is sometimes called heart burn which can disturb our sleep. When this situation persists for a long period of time for a particular person, he or she is then said to be suffering from a disease called GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease).

Everyone has “acid” present in their stomach as it is a major factor that helps facilitate the digestion system. These acids remain in the stomach when we stand or sit since the gravitational force holds it downwards in the stomach itself but for some people this acid starts moving upwards towards (and past) the oesophagus when they are lying down. This is because when we lay themselves down, both our stomach and oesophagus area are in a levelled position unlike when they stand up or sit down. This situation leads to acid leaking past the oesophagus which in turn can lead to a disturbed sleep pattern or even sleeplessness and can be so aggravating that it effects their daily routines the next day.

 

HOW IS A WEDGE PILLOW ONE OF THE BEST REMEDIES FOR GERD?

Wedge pillows are a rational invention that is tailored-made to unravel the problem of acid reflux. Since acid reflux occurs only due to the fact that both stomach and oesophagus are at the same level the wedge pillow addresses this issue with a purely natural and simple approach. The wedged shaped pillow is designed in such a way that it lifts up the upper body (torso) of the sufferer (creating an incline) that is steep enough to make the stomach acid stay below the oesophagus therefore facilitating the acid to stay in the stomach.

 BWL sleepingThough a bed wedge pillow is an excellent temporary measure (as stated used mainly when lying down or sleeping) it eliminates the discomfort caused due to the condition, remember that it is not a permanent “cure” or “fix”  for the ailment but it is definitely a great relief to those suffering from GERD.

The victims of severe night time reflux can have a natural remedy that is purely logical and trustworthy without any (known) adverse side effects. With the wedge pillow, you can enjoy a blissful sleep at night that makes it possible for you to wake up fresh the next morning and continue your work and family life without any limitations.

Besides all these, the wedge pillow also acts as a good multi-purpose support that can give comfort when used while;

  • watching television
  • using your laptop
  • reading books
  • or as a leg raise and so on.

For those who suffer from back pain, a wedge pillow is a must have since it reduces pressure on your back, shoulders and neck. Thus, a wedge pillow is not only the best remedy for GERD or acid reflux, it is also a multi-use aid that eases many activities at home.

Know of a better way to use a wedge pillow? How do you get the best use out of your wedge-pillow?

Have your say and leave your comments below

About Creating Comforts

If you think that you are suffering from acid reflux then you must consult with a medical professional before you try any solution.Wedge pillows are a great multifunctional non prescribed device that carry little to no risk and are available in a number of shapes & sizes depending on personal requirements, as available from our bed wedge range.