Everything you need to know about Acid Reflux
What is Acid Reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux is a condition in which gastric contents and acid flows up into the oesophagus generally called as “food pipe” and sometimes even the throat, irritating the tissue. It causes the symptoms like heartburn, burping and acidity, sometimes associated with burning pain in the chest.
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux is caused when the sphincter (muscular ring) present in the lower esophagus does not close properly after the food enters the stomach causing backflow of the content
Lifestyle: Following unhealthy lifestyle practices can cause the loosening of the sphincter muscles. Some of the lifestyle causes can include:
o Consumption of alcohol
o Having a poor posture (slouching)
o Excessive smoking
o Chronic consumption of tea and caffeine
o Lying down or sleeping immediately after a meal
- Medications:Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) may cause acid reflux, if taken frequently. Other medications such as calcium channel blockers, sedatives, antibiotics and iron tablets may result in acid reflux
- Diet: One’s diet plays an important factor. Some foods that may causes acid reflux include:
o Fatty and fried foods
o Excessive consumption of chocolates, onions and garlic
o Aerated and caffeinated beverages
o Acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes
o Excessively spicy foods
- Eating habits:Some eating habits that may cause acid reflux include:
o Eating large meals
o Eating too quickly
o Eating too close to bedtime
- Other medical conditions:Some conditions that may cause acid reflux include:
o Rapid weight gain
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
- Burning chest pain
- Regurgitation – Sensation of acid backing up into your throat or mouth
- Stomach discomfort
o Nausea after eating
o Stomach fullness or bloating
o Upper abdominal pain and discomfort
- Weight loss for no reason
- Dry cough, sore throat or wheezing
What is the diagnosis and treatment for acid reflux?
Diagnosis is based on analysis of symptoms. Antacids and lifestyle changes will be recommended.
How do you avoid or prevent acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition that can be easily prevented by following simple lifestyle changes. Some of them include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating smaller meals repeatedly throughout the day
- Avoiding dinner 2-3 hours before going to the bed
- Avoiding food that can cause acid reflux, like:
o Fatty foods
o Spicy food
o Acidic food
o Caffeinated and aerated beverages
o Onions and garlic
- Not lying down immediately after meals
- Reducing alcohol consumption and smoking
- Having a gluten-free diet
- Avoiding tight clothes or belts that makes the body uneasy
- Visit a gastroenterologist if the symptoms persist for long