What is GERD/ Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is a condition in which the stomach contents are forced back into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. When this happens, it can cause heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms.
GERD is a common condition, affecting about 20% of the population. It is most common in adults but can also occur in children and infants. GERD is usually not a severe condition, but it can be uncomfortable and may lead to complications if it is not treated.
Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?
There are several reasons why acid reflux may occur. The most common cause is a lower esophageal sphincter (LES) flaw. The LES is a muscle that opens and closes to allow food into the stomach. When it does not function properly, it can allow stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
Other factors such as pregnancy, obesity, or certain medications can sometimes contribute to the condition.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. This burning sensation in the chest can be accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, nausea, and even vomiting. Other symptoms may include:
Chest pain: Acid reflux can cause a sharp, burning sensation in the chest. This is often mistaken for a heart attack.
Difficulty swallowing: If acid reflux is severe, it can cause difficulty swallowing. This may make it difficult to eat or drink.
Chocking: Acid reflux can cause a person to choke on their food or vomit.
Belching: Belching is a common symptom of acid reflux. It occurs when stomach acid is forced back up into the esophagus.
Bad breath: Rotten Food inside the stomach can cause bad breath.
Wheezing: Acid reflux can irritate the lungs and cause wheezing.
Acid reflux is usually not a severe condition, but it can be uncomfortable and may lead to complications if it is not treated.
Diagnosing Acid Reflux
If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, your doctor will likely recommend a diagnostic test. The most common test is an upper endoscopy. This is a procedure in which a tiny camera is inserted down the throat to visualize the esophagus and stomach.
Other tests may include:
X-ray: An X-ray can be used to look for evidence of damage to the esophagus or stomach.
Barium swallow: This is a test in which a person drinks a chalky liquid that coats the esophagus and stomach. This allows the doctor to see the esophagus and stomach on an X-ray.
pH monitoring: This test measures the amount of acid in the esophagus. A small tube is inserted through the nose and into the esophagus. The tube is connected to a monitor that measures the pH level.
Manometry: This is a test that measures the pressure in the esophagus. A small tube is inserted through the nose and into the esophagus. The tube is connected to a pressure gauge that measures the pressure in the esophagus.
Types of Acid Reflux?
There are two types of acid reflux:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This is a more serious form of acid reflux. GERD can cause heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. it can also lead to complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.
(Silent Reflux) Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR): This is a less serious form of acid reflux. LPR can cause heartburn, but it is more likely to cause other symptoms such as hoarseness, sore throat, and cough.
Treatment for Acid Reflux
Antacids: These are over-the-counter medications that neutralize stomach acid. They can provide relief from heartburn.
H2 blockers: These are medications that reduce the production of stomach acid. They can be taken as a pill or liquid.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): These are drugs that block the production of stomach acid. They can be taken as a pill or liquid.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat acid reflux. Surgery is typically only recommended for people with severe GERD who do not respond to other treatment options.
Avoid food that triggers Acid Reflux:
Certain foods can trigger acid reflux. These foods include:
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit can all trigger acid reflux.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are acidic and can trigger acid reflux.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and other substances that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter.Fatty foods: Fatty foods can slow down the movement of food through the stomach and increase the likelihood of reflux.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods can trigger acid reflux.Coffee:
Home remedies for Acid Reflux
Several home remedies can help to treat acid reflux. There are lots of homeopathic medicines that help a lot with acid reflux, but most people prefer home remedies for Acid Reflux problems. These home remedies include:
Chewing gum: Chewing gum can help to neutralize stomach acid and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Drinking water: Drinking water can help to flush out the stomach and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Elevating the head of the bed: Elevating the head can help keep stomach acid from rising into the esophagus.
Wearing loose-fitting clothing: Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help to avoid putting pressure on the stomach and causing acid reflux.
Acid Reflux Foods to avoid
There are lots of food items that you should avoid to control your acid reflux or Gerd problem. Acidic food should always be avoided for GERD patients. Fatty foods, spicy foods, fast food items, etc. should be mostly avoided if you want to get rid of acid reflux. Some people are also allergic to certain food items, so it is better to find the allergen and avoid those food items that cause allergy or irritation.