Acid reflux is a common problem many people whereby it has no respect of age, sex or race. Its primary symptom is a burning feeling and irritation that creeps from the chest to the throat. This occurs when lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relax and allows acid to rise up into the esophagus.
The pain always leaves many people wondering whether they are suffering from cancer or heart attack. Acid reflux is also commonly known as heartburn although it has nothing to do with the heart itself as an organ. Acid reflux has its own distinct symptoms and it is only when it’s not treated for a long time that it can lead cancer but commonly it has no relationship with cancer.
What are the distinct signs of acid reflux?
- Some of the universally observed signs are;
- Severe chest pains and burning feeling in your throat
- Having bitter taste in the mouth
- Coughing at night and sleeping discomforts
- Irritation of esophagus and the gum which is accompanied by bleeding and tenderness
- Bloating of stomach after every meal
- Swallowing problems due to dysphagia
- Suffering chronic soreness in your throat
This signs and symptoms are experienced as a result LES failure or Hiatal hernia disorder. These two factors are propagated by some factors which act as the main causes of acid reflux.
Which are causes?
Knowledge on the causes of acid reflux is one most imperative thing to learn. This is because for those who have never been affected will know how to keep themselves safe and for the affected they will know how to manage it. The causes are;
- Smoking of cigarettes
Smoking of tobacco weakens and damages the lower esophageal sphincter. This makes the LES relax thus opening up anyhow allowing flow back of the stomach acid into the esophagus.
- Fatty foods
Fatty foods make lower esophageal sphincter relax therefore allowing gastric acid to rise up into esophagus. Fatty foods also take long in the stomach before are fully digested. This, in turn, leads to the production of more acid that cause reflux. Examples of such foods are ham fat, beef and pork.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grape fruits and pineapples are highly acidic. The fruits increase the acidic level in the stomach which in the long run is let back into the food pipe. It is good to reduce their consumption especially if you have regular reflux.
- Drinking of chocolate
Chocolate has methylxanthine that causes lower esophageal sphincter to relax, contributing to acid reflux.
Caffeine drinks like coffee and tea can inflame and irritate your esophagus hence should be avoided.
- Spicy foods
Spicy foods such as garlic and onions are known to trigger burning sensation in many people. To control reflux, avoid excess intake of such foods.
Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter hence reducing its capability to prevent acid reflux.
ACID REFLUX NATURAL REMEDIES
Natural remedies are non-toxic methods that you can use to reduce Acid reflux at the comfort of your home. They include;
Apple cider vinegar is an acid with a pH of roughly five. It helps in making stomach content more acidic and reduces the build up of more pressure due to indigestion. High acidity levels in your stomach also prevent food from fermenting.
- Drinking of lemon juice
Lemon juice is more acidic therefore helps in effective digestion of meals in the stomach. It also has some nutrients like vitamin c that is needed in your diet. However, it can damage your teeth enamel if drink daily.
- Sodium Bicarbonate
Sodium Bicarbonate is a base that helps in neutralizing acid in your stomach and that splash into the esophagus. However, frequently intake can lead to nausea and swelling.
DGL licorice has glycyrrhizic acid that makes it have a natural characteristic healing of the food pipe. However, excess intake can cause high blood pressure.
- Slippery elm
Slippery elm protects the lining layer of the stomach against acid damage. It also used in the treatment of gastro esophageal reflux disease.
To cure Acid Reflux, you have to combine efforts of changing your lifestyles, seek medication and use of natural or home remedies.
To prevent and manage acid reflux it is also advisable to make some lifestyle changes which are known to cause acid reflux. The changes are like;
- Reduce weight
Excess weight around your abdominal part exerts more pressure especially on your stomach forcing the LES valve to open irregularly hence contributing to acid reflux.
- Put on loose up clothes
Wearing of tight clothes and belts exerts more pressure on your abdomen hence leading to acid reflux. To cure reflux, loosen up your belts and wear clothes that allow breathing.
- Try not to eat close to bed time
Wait for at least three hours after eating to allow digestion take place when your body is still active. This prevents the production of acid that leads to reflux.
Medication for acid reflux
There are various acid reflux medications like;
- Anti acids
Examples include Tums and seltzer
However, frequent use of these anti acids alters secretion of acid thereby causing indigestion in the long run.
- Histamine 2 receptor
Examples include Zantac, Tagament, pepcide
- Proton pump inhibitors
A good example is prilosec,nexium
- Herbal medicine
Medicinal herbs like Glycerrhiza glabra, Sautalum album and Rubia Cardiforlia helps to reduce production of more acid from the stomach. These herbs also protect the esophagus against damage as well as well as reducing infections like H.phylori.
- Undergo Medical laboratory test
Laboratory test helps to examine the exact cause of reflux. It also rules out other diseases that have same symptoms, like ulcers and cancer.
Surgery can only be carried out if the reflux is chronic. A common surgery undertaken is Nissen fundoplication.
Having learned all the possible remedies one can use to manage acid reflux one can now choose the most appropriate and convenient. However, it is recommended to use natural remedies and change of lifestyle before letting the condition to be worse to the point of use drugs.