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Acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when the liquid that is in the stomach backs up into the esophagus. This is usually a condition which persists throughout the life of the individual. Because the acid backs up into the esophagus, the esophagus may be damaged.
Acid reflux (GERD) can have many causes. The action of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) may be one cause. The esophagus connects to the stomach. There is a muscle ring that goes around the end of the esophagus at the point where it meets the stomach. This is the LES. When we eat or drink the LES allows the food to pass into the stomach and then the muscle ring closes so the food does not reflux. People with acid reflux (GERD) may have abnormalities with their LES. The LES may have a weak contraction so there is a very good chance of reflux. Or, the LES may be too relaxed. The longer the LES is open (relaxed) reflux can easily occur.
Acid reflux can also be caused by a hiatal hernia due to the hernial sac. The location of the sac is near the esophagus. Acid gets trapped in the sac. Because the sac is so close to the esophagus, when the LES relaxes, it is easy to reflux.
The hiatal hernia can lead to acid reflux in a third way. Normally the esophagus connects to the stomach at an angle creating a flap of tissue. The hiatal hernia leads to the flap becoming warped and therefore it is useless to stop reflux.
People with acid reflux have a problem with the contraction of the esophageal muscles when they swallow. This is an issue because the contraction pushes all of the items in the esophagus into the stomach. If there is not a good contraction then the acid does not get pushed back and remains in the esophagus. Smoking disturbs the clearing of the esophagus too. It takes about six hours from the last cigarette you smoke for the effect on the esophagus to wear off.
Acid reflux is most common after meals. It is always better to be vertical so gravity can help the acid move down into the stomach. Large meals are not recommended for people with acid reflux.
There are many different reasons people may have acid reflux. Learning the cause may help in your quest to relieve some of the discomfort of acid reflux.
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux
We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!
Acid Reflux - Is It Your Diet?
How can you help your acid reflux without using pills or medications? Many people may get relief by changing their way of eating.
Acid reflux may act up if you eat your normal three large meals a day.
A different approach would be to eat more often but smaller meals. Eating smaller meals puts less strain on your stomach and consequently your stomach does not need as much acid in order to digest your food. Acid reflux may also be helped by eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates. You may want to eat food like rice or pasta or bread. These foods do not aggravate the stomach.
Acid reflux may bother you if you eat high fat foods. It is best not to order food from the well-known fast food eateries. These high fat foods linger in your stomach and need more acid for digestion.
Acid reflux just loves to see you overeat. All of that food just begs the stomach to produce more acid. The more you eat the longer the food remains in your stomach. This requires more acid in order to break down all of the food.
Another dietary change to help prevent acid reflux would be to stop eating and drinking caffeine containing foods. That's right, you need to cut out or cut way back on coffee, tea and chocolate. Acid reflux is also very sensitive to alcohol. Beer is one of the worst drinks to consume if you are suffering from acid reflux. It stimulates your stomach to produce double the amount of acid.
Acid reflux can be helped if you change your eating habits. Another helpful hint would be to remain sitting up while eating (no laying in bed for midnight snacks) and remain upright after you are finished eating for about forty-five minutes. When you do lay down, you might want to tilt the top half of your bed up about six to eight inches. Some people place telephone books under the mattress to elevate it.
Acid reflux is a problem for many people. Because we are overeating at dinner we are already over producing stomach acid. So, many people try a glass of milk to help with the acid reflux before they go to sleep. Unfortunately this does not help. The milk actually encourages the stomach to produce more acid which in turn leads to acid reflux. You may want to try having a smaller dinner and then a light snack before bedtime. Crackers would be a great snack choice before going to sleep.
It is possible to ease your acid reflux. If you are brave enough to change your habits, you can save yourself money and pain. It may not be easy to change, but the pain of acid reflux is worse. Remember - eat smaller meals (you can eat more often), eat high complex carbohydrate foods (bread, rice, pasta), stay away from high fat foods (no fast food), don't overeat and stay away from caffeine and alcohol (especially beer).
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux
While Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) is cited in some journals as a part of GERD, it presents its own set of symptoms and potential health problems. LPR affects the larynx, pharynx, bronchi, trachea, and possibly even one's lungs.
Since the components of the affected area (see the list above) are constructed of softer tissue that the esophagus, the potential for damage is greater from stomach acid and digestive enzymes. And if the reflux is "aspirated," or breathed into the lungs, the risk is increased for one to develop aspiration pneumonia. Other pulmonary problems whish may manifest are coughing, wheezing, asthma (especially adult onset), and interstitial fibrosis (the tissue in the lungs becomes inflamed and/or scarred). Excess acid reaching one's mouth can also lead to the decay of the tooth enamel, gingivitis, halitosis, and waterbrash.
Further complications can include odynophagia and dysphagia. And pharynx symptoms can include laryngitis, hoarseness, soreness, the sensation of a lump in one's throat (globus), and earache due to fluids entering one's Eustachian tubes between the throat and the ear.
Overall symptoms may include the above plus:
- Frequent throat clearing
- Post nasal drip
- Spasm of the larynx
- Blockage of the breathing passage
- Swallowed food coming back up
- Difficulty singing, especially the loss of vocal range.
Diagnosis of LPR can be more difficult, due in part to the fact that less than 15% of those affected have the "heartburn" associated with typical GERD symptoms. Your physician or health care provider may do a laryngoscopy to diagnose and evaluate the condition. Please consult him/her as quickly as possible if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Other testing may include:
- pH testing - two sensors are placed (one on each end of the esophagus) to determine if the reflux is reaching one's upper esophagus and to assess the pH content of the reflux.
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, if one complains of dysphagia or odynophagia
These are the same as those mentioned in Part 2 of this three-part series.
- Antacids - Prescription medications to reduce acid production in the stomach
- the Nissen Fundoplication mentioned in Part 2.
As with treatment of GERD one's physician may recommend one, or a combination, of the treatments cited, depending on the severity of your case. And it is recommended that one seek medical care as quickly as possible, should one experience any of the symptoms described in these articles.
Please remember that Acid Reflux can lead to very serious health issues, including some forms of cancer, if left untreated. So see your physician as often as needed to alleviate this potentially devastating disease.
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux
Heartburn - Cure Your Heartburn or Acid Reflux Easy
Have you Heard of William Lagadyn? He is a researcher and author of the popular publication "Cure Your Heartburn " and also a former sufferer of digestive problems, including heartburn and acid reflux, and believe me he knows exactly what you are experiencing, and how to correct the problems.
Heartburn and acid reflux cures are hard to find but they have now been found. Hes not a doctor, however was involved in the medical field for a number of years, and have a very good understanding of the human digestive system. How it functions and the reasons why it fails to function perfectly all the time. As a matter of fact, the first person he ever helped, lived in Tampa, Florida, and that was over 20 years ago. Since then, 1000's of people now understand what was causing their heartburn problems, and just how simple and easy it was to correct them.
Simple heartburn or GERD can develop into a more serious issue if left unattended, so it really is important to rectify the condition as soon as you can.
Can You Correct the Problems?
Of course you can! 97% of the people that have followed the program, have finally discovered the real reasons why they were having heartburn and acid reflux problems.
They also learned how to correct the disorder fast and easy, and now enjoy a life that is free of pain, anxiety, burping and embarrassment. You can too! All you have to do is go to This link Now to cure your Heartburn!
Acid Reflux - Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to remain closed. There are several theories on why this happens. It is most commonly believed that the tissue structure of the LES is compromised by one or more of these factors:
- Eating foods which contain high acid content
- Delayed digestion of stomach content
- Diminished salivation
- Relaxation of the LES (transient)
- Decreased LES resting status
- Ineffective esophageal clearance
- The inability of the esophagus to resist injury and repair itself
GERD episodes occur frequently during the day, quite often following the consumption of too much food or foods high in fat content. However there are also many reported cases of this happening at night, while one is in a horizontal sleeping position.
In the course of this research, I discovered that most physicians recommend that patients avoid alcohol, caffeine and chocolate, as these items seem to be the biggest "offenders" in one's battle against this affliction. It should also be noted that smoking, tight clothing, drugs, hormones, obesity, pregnancy, and even body position have been cited as triggering factors in the onset of this disease.
GERD is often accompanied by a hiatal hernia. This is a protrusion of part of the stomach through the esophageal hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm, which leads into the chest. When this type of hernia is present it may contribute to transient LES relaxation and delay clearance, due to impaired esophageal evacuation. This means that hiatal hernias may allow prolonged acid exposure after reflux occurs, thus creating GERD symptoms and esophageal damage.
Common symptoms of GERD involving the LES are:
- Heartburn - burning in the chest behind the sternum
- Regurgitation - not to be confused with vomiting, which employs the gastrointestinal and abdominal muscles to force stomach contents up the esophagus, this is a bitter or acid taste in the mouth caused by the gastric contents reaching it during reflux
- Dysfunctional swallowing (Dysphagia) - this is the sensation of food "hanging up", "getting stuck" or "slowing down" between the pharynx and the stomach
- Pain when swallowing (Odynophagia) - a sharp pain beneath the sternum that occurs when swallowing. This pain is caused by erosive esophagitis (when the lining of one's esophagus has been "eaten" by stomach acid and gastric enzymes)
- Chest Pain - when caused by reflux, this may be sharp or dull and may radiate into the neck, arms, or back. This is very often mistaken as a heart attack. Don't take any chances. Seek immediate medical attention in the event that this occurs so that your physician or health care provider may rule out heart problems and help you treat the cause.
Common tests used to diagnose and evaluate GERD are:
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and possibly a biopsy of the esophagus
- pH testing of the LES - a sensor is put into place for 24 hours to determine whether or not the reflux is occurring, and to assess the level of the acid being refluxed.
Depending on your physician's evaluation, GERD may be controlled in the early stages with diet and an over-the-counter antacid. It is not recommended that one employ this method of treatment without first consulting one's physician. More severe diagnoses may require more in-depth treatment, possibly including surgery.
Your physician may recommend one, or a combination, of the following:
Lifestyle changes: - Elevate the head of one's bed 4 to 6 inches (5 to 8 centimeters)
- Antacids to neutralize excess stomach acid
- Avoid overeating
- Avoid alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine
- No food two to three hours before going to bed
- Lose weight
- Avoid fatty and/or greasy foods
- Drink eight 8 ounce glasses (about two liters) of water daily
- Prescription medications to reduce acid production in the stomach
- Endoscopic suturing - this is a minimally invasive procedure and can create a barrier to minimize reflux in those with mild to moderate GERD. It cannot be done, however, if one has a large hiatal hernia.
- Surgery on the LES - The most common is the Nissen fundoplication. But, there is a less invasive form of surgery using laparoscopy.
Your physician will determine which better suits the necessity.
Please remember that left untreated, GERD can lead to many more serious complications, so don't ignore that frequent "heartburn". Get checked out now!
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when one of two closures, or "sphincters," in the esophagus fail to remain sealed after food and/or liquid pass through them on the way to one's stomach. The two sphincters are located at each end of the esophagus. The first one is at the top, directly behind the larynx and pharynx. The second one is at the bottom, directly above the stomach.
There are two forms of acid reflux - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR). Either form can cause serious and permanent damage, including some forms of cancer, if not diagnosed and treated on a timely basis. Please read further in Parts 2 and 3 for some of the symptoms, tests for diagnosis and evaluation, and treatments commonly used to control this potentially devastating disease.
Should you discover that you have any of the symptoms, please seek medical help quickly so that you can minimize the risks of permanent damage.
For your convenience, see the following pronunciation key and a few definitions to assist with some of the terminology in the three parts provided:
Bronchi - bron'-ki
Dysphagia - diss-fay'-gee-ah
Endoscopy - en-dos'-cop-ee
Gastroesophageal - gas'-tro-ess-off'-ah-gee'-al
Gingivitis - jin'-jiv-eye'-tiss
Halitosis - hal'-ih-toe'-siss
Hiatal Hernia - hi-ay'-tal her'-nee-ah
Laryngitis - lair'-in-ji'-tiss
Laryngopharengeal - lair-in'-go-fair'-in-gee'-al
Laryngoscopy - lair'-in-goss'-cop-ee
Larynx - lair'-innks
Odynophagia - oh-din'-oh-fay'-gee-ah
Pharynx - fair'-innks
Trachea - tray'-key-ah
Bronchi - large tubes between the trachea and the lungs
Dysphagia - dysfunctional swallowing (see article 3 for further explanation)
Dysphonia - change in, weakness of, or cracking of one's voice when speaking or singing
Endoscopy - a procedure in which a tube containing fiber optic filaments and a microscopic lens is inserted into one's esophagus to assess and diagnose GERD
Gingivitis - a form of gum disease
Halitosis - chronic bad breath, frequently caused by illness and/or disease
Laryngoscopy - similar to the endoscopy, except that this is used to assess the condition of one's larynx and pharynx
Larynx - voice box
Pharynx - throat
Odynophagia - pain when swallowing (see article 3 for further information)
Sphincter - a band of muscle tissue which closes to prevent involuntary evacuation of material(s) from one's body
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition normally associated with adults. Sadly, many children also suffer the effects of acid reflux. This desease, also referred to as gastro-esophageal reflux, occurs when stomach contents churn and rise up into the esophagus, the tube connecting the stomach with the mouth. A muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, is responsible for keeping the stomach closed off until food is swallowed. The lower esophageal sphincter then opens up and allows the food into the stomach before closing again. Although Acid reflux can begin during infancy, it can carry over into early childhood.
Some people with acid reflux have hiatal hernias and some do not. Hiatal hernias are not a pre-requisite for acid reflux, but a large amount of people with acid reflux DO have hiatal hernias. A hiatal hernia disrupts the location of the LES. The LES should be on a level with the diaphragm but due to the hiatal hernia the LES is pushed up and lies in the chest. This is a problem because the diaphragm is a large part of helping the LES to prevent reflux. Now the pressure of both the LES and diaphragm are not working as a strong unit. The hiatal hernia contributes to the reflux because of the decreased pressure.
Though quite common in children, most people are not aware of it's occurrence. In most cases, the process of gastro-esophageal reflux occurs quickly, the acid comes up into the esophagus and then rapidly goes back down into the stomach. In this case, the esophagus suffers no damage. However, if the stomach acid stays in the esophagus, it damages the esophagus lining. In some cases, the stomach contents rise up all the way into the mouth, only to be swallowed again. This process causes a number of symptoms such as a chronic cough, or a hoarse voice. More serious symptoms can include difficulty in swallowing, wheezing, and chronic pneumonia.
Anyone who suspects that their child is afflicted with acid reflux, should have the child seen by his or her pediatrician. After examining the child and evaluating the symptoms, the doctor may run tests to diagnose whether acid reflux is present. Often, the doctor will begin treatment before testing for acid reflux. In one of the tests, called an upper GI-series X-ray, the child's X-ray is taken after being given a glass of barium to drink. This particular test is successfully used to locate hiatal hernias, blockages, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Another test, thought to be more effective than the X-ray, is the endoscopy. Typically, the child is sedated and put to sleep during the test. An endoscope, which is a thin, flexible plastic tube with a camera attached to the end, is then placed inside the throat. With the help of endoscope, the doctor is directly able to examine the esophagus lining, stomach, and a portion of the small intestine. The endoscopy also allows the doctor to perform a biopsy rather painlessly. Yet another test, the esophageal pH probe, may also be used. This test consists of using an extremely light, and ultra-thin wire with an acid sensor tip and inserting it through the patient's nose and into the lower esophagus. This method is used to detect and record the presense of stomach acid in the esophagus.
Hanif Khaki is the acclaimed author of numerous health related articles and the founder of the popular acid reflux site www.acid-reflux.expert-health.com
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