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When I was young, we had indigestion, now we discuss heartburn, acid reflux and that great mouthful known as gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (thankfully described as GERD), Whatever you call it, if you are suffering from belching, gas or a bloated stomach lets consider the cause.
Its been a hard and stressful day at work. You race home, gulp down a quick meal and collapse into bed for a well earned rest....But wait. Suddenly you experience a burning sensation in the top of your stomach. You may belch and probably feel bloated. This is the beginning of acid reflux, and can cause acid and stomach content to wash back into the oesophagus creating a burning sensation. This is often an indicator that something is wrong in your digestive system.
(Incidently, I recall cleaning cement from bricks with a commercial hydrochloric acid preparation which indicates the strength of this acid.!)
Occasional reflux is normal, but when it occurs regularly and disrupts daily life it is described as a disease - Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD and can contribute to cancer where the stomach and esophagus meet.
If you are suffering from heartburn the first thing you should do is take a good look at what you are eating. Over consumption of fatty foods and refined carbohydrates including biscuits, cakes and white bread can affect digestion and and cause reflux symptoms. Other irritants include salt, spices, sugar, curries, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Before you take drastic action to treat heartburn lets look at suitable supplements to aid digestion.
As well as supplements that contain digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, there are a number of specific formulas to relieve indiestion. These contain ingredients such as active herbs including Globe Artichoke Leaf, Gentian Root, Fennel Seed and Ginger. These natural herbs have been used for years in treating stomach complaints. Swedish Bitters is another possible treatment well recommended. Probiotics like Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidacterium lactis are beneficial for digestion by maintaining the friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
If you feel that you are not over indulging in any of these foods, and reflux symptoms persist, see your doctor, as untreated gastric reflux can damage the esophagus and even lead to cancer. Doctors can now conduct an impedance pH test which determines whether your reflux is acid or not.
Author Antony Wilton is an Australian who has been investigating Acid Reflux treatment for a number of years. His highly anticipated reports are regularly updated on his site http://www.acidrefluxheartburn.com
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!
An Introduction to Acid Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, afflicts millions of people. Many suffer from an occasional bout with heartburn, but acid reflux disease, as a diagnosis, should only be made if the heartburn causes impediments to your lifestyle due to severe, chronic discomfort over prolonged periods of time. Usually, if you suffer from heartburn 2 or more times per week for at least 12 weeks, there's a good chance that your diagnosis would be GERD. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly what causes acid reflux disease, but there is an ample amount of information available at your doctor's office and on the Internet.
Many avenues are available with regard to treatment options.
The good news is that acid reflux disease is a highly manageable condition, though it can lead to potentially serious, chronic conditions. The most common options recommended include lifestyle changes, medical treatments, stress management, and/or a combination of all strategies.
What is Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid reflux disease is a chronic condition in which stomach acid washes back up onto the esophagus, causing severe discomfort. Stomach acid burns the esophagus lining due to a relaxed lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES acts as a valve between your stomach and the esophagus. The valve is designed to open and allow food into the stomach, and then close, protecting the esophagus from acids. However, if the LES is not closing properly, acid rushes or refluxes upward, coating the esophagus, and causes a burning sensation.
Remember that it's normal to suffer from acid reflux (heartburn) every once and awhile. It's only acid reflux disease when it's a chronic condition, happening frequently and for long periods of time. If you are unsure, don't hesitate to see your doctor. One more thing to keep in mind is that heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. It just feels that way at times because the esophagus is located behind the heart.
Acid reflux symptoms vary in degrees of discomfort, from person to person, and within different age groups. The most common and persistent symptom is a burning sensation centered in the middle of the chest and/or throat, brought on by stomach acid that churns up onto the lining of the esophagus. This is due to the relaxing of the esophageal sphincter (valve), which remains open when it should be closed. Acid reflux also leads to one of the most unpleasant symptoms known as regurgitation of acid into the mouth, often due to overeating, or bending down after a meal.
Though heartburn is the most common of the acid reflux disease symptoms, other signs may also manifest themselves. These symptoms include wheezing, coarseness in the throat, breathing problems, acid regurgitation, a bitter taste in the mouth, dry coughing, interrupted sleep, tightness in the throat, and halitosis (bad breath).
The risks for acid reflux disease increase, as most potential health problems, with age. Children also suffer from this disease, with symptoms that range from recurring coughing, vomiting, and breathing problems.
Don't be confused by the term heartburn. Many believe that acid reflux symptoms affect the heart or mistakenly diagnose heartburn as a heart related problem. When in reality, the heart in not effected by acid reflux. The reason for the confusion lies in the fact that the heart is located near the pain center, when, actually, the esophagus is positioned behind the heart. One more thing to keep in mind is that acid reflux does not normally flare up during or beginning physical exertion, like many heart problems do. Again, always consult a physician on treatment options whether you experience signs of acid reflux or possible heart related problems.
How To Treat Acid Reflux
Heartburn is a by-product of digestion, specifically affecting the esophagus and the stomach. The esophagus is a tube that delivers food into the stomach, and it has a valve that opens and closes to allow food in and to keep it down during digestion. This valve can become lax or get overwhelmed by too much food or too much acid. This condition causes stomach acids to reflux or spill back up through the valve onto the esophagus, fanning flames of discomfort within the center of the chest.
Is there an acid reflux cure? Yes and no. Yes, because it can be treated effectively and relieved, but also no, because researchers have yet to find a root cause and it can always come back. Acid reflux treatment regimens include medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management. Depending on severity, acid reflux can be curbed with as little as only a few behavioral modifications such as quitting smoking and eating better to powerful acid reflux medication treatments under a physician's supervision.
Acid Reflux Medication
Acid reflux medication strategies vary in how they defend against heartburn. With serious, recurrent heartburn, a physician may recommend acid reflux medications to include histamine antagonists that suppress acid secretions triggered by histamine and gastrin. You could also be prescribed proton pump inhibitors, a newer compound designed to block the last step in acid production. Prokinetic agents make up another group that, unlike the first two, does not block or suppress acid production, but instead aims to increase the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, helping to push food through faster.
Acid Reflux Relief
In many cases, lifestyle alterations can provide a great deal of acid reflux relief like changing your diet, quitting smoking, sitting up after meals, and learning to manage stress. Exercise is also highly effective in relieving acid reflux because it aids in speeding digestion and stifles one of the peskiest acid reflux culprits--being overweight. Also check out specialized pillows, shaped into wedges that help keep your head higher than your stomach so that acid stays where it should while you sleep.
Others opt for natural herbal remedies found in health food stores. These herbal remedies tout all-natural ingredients that relieve heartburn symptoms and tend to be milder than medical treatments. Prescription medications are the most aggressive acid reflux treatments and are designed to provide relief for those who suffer from serious, chronic heartburn or acid reflux disease.
You may have to try more than one or a combination of relief strategies in order to find out which is the most effective for you. Remember to consult your physician on any medical concern, and always keep educated and proactive when it comes to your health.
What is Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a common ailment, affecting between 5%-7% of the population. In order to understand what GERD is it is important to be familiar with how the esophagus works. A long muscular tube, the esophagus carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. The average adult esophagus is around ten to thirteen inches long and approximately an half an inch in diameter. GERD is caused by the backflow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, usually because the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly. When this happens over a long period of time, the lining of this tract becomes eroded, causing discomfort and pain.
Symptoms of the disease are fairly straightforward and are very similar to the symptoms of heartburn. GERD often include a frequent burning sensation, right behind the breastbone, which sometimes worsens when lying down for extended periods of time. While most cases of heartburn turn out to be non-life threatening, it is important that you visit your doctor at the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, the symptoms of both indigestion and GERD can also imitate those of heart disease, so it is very important that you seek medical attention to make sure that you get the correct diagnosis.
There are a number of medical tests which your doctor can perform which will confirm the diagnosis of GERD. After your doctor or healthcare professional has taken your medical history, he or she will most likely conduct an test using an Endoscope, a long flexible imaging instrument. This will allow the doctor to visibly exam your esophagus. If you are diagnosed with Acid Reflux disease, there are a number of treatment options available to you, such as making changes to your diet, reducing stress, and taking over the counter antacids. Serious cases of GERD may require a prescription drug to reduce the acid being produced by your stomach, but lifestyle changes are often enough to control symptoms successfully.
Jeff Lakie is the owner of Occasional Heartburn, a website dedicated to matching consumers with acid reflux help.
Acid reflux disease, or GERD, is a common compliant of the digestive system, often characterised by persistent burning or discomfort behind the breastbone. As the symptoms of GERD can mimic those of coronary disease, it is important that you visit your doctor, if you have chronic heartburn. If you have been diagnosed as having acid reflux disease, there are many treatment options available to you to help you manage your symptoms.
The treatment of GERD usually incorporates simple lifestyle changes. It is very important for patients suffering from GERD to monitor their diets, eliminating any foods or beverages, which seem to aggravate their symptoms. Avoiding a diet high in fatty foods and alcohol is very important and quitting smoking can also help decrease your symptoms. Another effective way to alleviate your symptoms of acid reflux disease is to try to manage your stress, which causes the body to produce more acid, often causing a flare-up.
If these changes are not enough to alleviate your discomfort, however, your doctor may prescribe drug therapy. Drug therapy is usually prescribed for the lifetime of the patient and often includes medications which inhibit the production of stomach acids, such as proton pump inhibitors or antacids.
While most patients tend to respond well to these treatments, sometimes surgery is the only option for those who do not respond well to other methods. The most common form of surgery used to treat GERD is fundoplication surgery, which repairs the lower esophagal sphincter, thus stopping the stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. The average hospital stay is between one to four days, and it can sometimes take a patient up to five weeks to fully recuperate. Although surgery can successfully eliminate symptoms, a small number of patients will still need to take medication to fully control their GERD.
Whether you have been recently diagnosed with acid reflux disease or are a long-time sufferer, there are many treatment options available to you, and with a few simple lifestyle changes, under a doctor's supervision, can help you live with your symptoms.
Jeff Lakie is the owner of the Acid Reflux Cures website. You can find mortgage information and get a free information
Acid Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a common disease which affects approximately 5-7% of the population. It occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, a long, thin, muscular tube, which connects the mouth and the stomach. This often causes a constant burning sensation behind the breastbone, which is commonly known as heartburn. Long-term or persistent heartburn should be evaluated by a doctor, as heartburn can imitate the symptoms of heart disease.
The food continues down the esophagus, passing through a valve prior to entering the stomach where it comes in contact with stomach (hydrochloric) acid to further break down the food. If the valve relaxes , or if an excess of acid is produced, acid may be forced back into the oesophagus causing the reflux or heartburn.
Once you have been properly diagnosed as having Acid Reflux Disease, there are a variety of treatment options available to you. Many doctors recommend over the counter medications, developed to reduce stomach acid, such as antacids or prokinetic agents. Some patients who are unable to control their symptoms with non-prescription medication may either choose prescription antacids or surgery, or opt for a combination of the two.
There are other options available, however, to help you manage your symptoms. Many patients are able to control their disease by simply by making lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips, to get you started.
Probably the most important lifestyle change that you could make to help you manage your GERD symptoms is the simplest- avoid the foods and drinks that make you uncomfortable! While this may sound like common sense, many sufferers find it difficult to make dietary changes. Try replacing fatty, deep-fried foods with healthier options, such as tasty summer salads and steamed vegetables. You should also try to limit your intake of caffeinated beverages, as caffeine is a known contributor to GERD, so opt for decaf teas and coffees instead.
Stress reduction is also key to the management of acid reflux disease. The body manufactures more stomach acid when under stress, so it is important to learn to relax. Meditation is a very useful tool for effectively reducing stress levels, so incorporating one or two short meditation sessions into each day can help you to relax. Likewise, yoga is also recommended as being an effective way to manage stress, so try to find a class near you.
By incorporating simple changes into your life, you can not only better manage your GERD symptoms, but also enhance the overall quality of your life.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Acid Reflux Causes a website that allows consumers to quickly and easily get acid reflux information.
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