Foods to avoid if you have acid reflux aka Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly referred to as GERD
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Doctors will generally give you a number of options to help them diagnose the existence of gastroesophageal reflux disease and a few of them may sound difficult or confusing. Learn what will happen, what it takes to be prepared for the procedure, and what you should be able to know when the procedure is over by simply reading on.
What is it?
The procedure of upper endoscopy is truly a gem of modern technology as it allows a doctor to see what is inside of you without actually having to open you up at all. The doctor will send a very small tube down the throat through the esophagus and down to the stomach that will allow him or her to see the inside of your body on a television to see if there is any irritation or abrasions on the esophagus or stomach.
How do I prepare for it?
Like many procedures that involve the treating of the digestive system, it is recommended that you not eat or drink for at LEAST six hours before the process takes place. You should have a detailed conversation with the doctor before the procedure takes place to note any special circumstances like medication allergies or conditions that the doctor should need to take care of during the process.
What is the recovery time?
There is not a long or difficult time of recovery needed after the endoscopy, instead you will probably be supervised by a medical professional to make sure that the medication wears off in due time, then notes will be taken about the feeling of the throat. If the throat is sore and swallowing is painful then some gargling of a chemical may be ordered, but it won’t last long and you will be back on your diet later that same day.
When are the results available? Some doctors will be able to give you a somewhat definitive diagnosis immediately after the procedure on what he or she believes the situation may be. However, most doctors will wait for the official results that could take three to four days to receive.
As always, before you attempt to self medicate or try a new health regimen or program we suggest you retain the services of a qualified health care professional.
Treating Acid Reflux with Antacids
As is the case with most diseases, there are a number of ways to try to combat acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. While many doctors will require a simple lifestyle change there are others who believe intensely in the merit of antacids. The question that many have in this situation is understandable and interesting, what are antacids and how exactly do they work?
The use of an antacid is important to those suffering from acid reflux because it is indeed intended to do exactly what the name says, offset acids. When an antacid is taken it takes the same path as the food you chew does and heads off to the stomach, finally being released in the area where food is released as it becomes a concern for acid reflux. Antacids generally do a tremendous job of doing their intended goal of neutralizing the acids in the stomach that sometimes cause acid reflux, but the problem is the length of time that the antacids actually work.
There are three different types of antacids with magnesium, calcium, and aluminum based products. Generally, doctors will tell you that calcium based antacids like Tums or Rolaids are not good for GERD because they release gastrin, a chemical that can assist the release of acid. If you are having side effects like constipation or diarrhea it is probably due to a reaction from magnesium (causes diarrhea) or aluminum (causes constipation). Some individuals will rotate the use of these two to alleviate this problem.
The Causes of Acid Reflux: Lower Esophageal Sphincter
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can be caused by a few different things, one being lower esophageal sphincter. Many simply think that the cause is fatty foods or foods that are high in cholesterol, but there are actually life altering events that can cause acid reflux. Some patients may actually produce an abnormal amount of acid that causes acid reflux and others may have several different causes at work, but chances are it is one of four causes; this is what you need to know about lower esophageal sphincter.
Antacids are generally only functional in the stomach for a little over or under one hour’s time, which makes it seem at times that the antacid isn’t working. The antacids almost always work, but they are often not taken at the right time to actually help avoid the acid reflux. Sometimes it is best to take the antacids up to an hour before eating, others while they are eating, and still others just after they finish. The goal is finding what the good time is to take it for you as everyone has a different timetable for the antacids to reach the stomach. If it reaches before the acid does then it doesn’t do you any good.
One of the biggest factors in acid reflux is the lower esophageal sphincter which is the muscular tube that extends from the bottom of the throat to the stomach. This muscle, that connects the joining point of the stomach and the esophagus, is active most of the time in the majority of individuals. Think of the lower esophageal sphincter as the gatekeeper to the food moving from the throat, or esophagus, to the stomach as the food is being digested.
When the lower esophageal sphincter closes and moves the food from the throat to the stomach. If the lower esophageal sphincter works right and closes every time that the food is swallowed then the food will be digested correctly and will not cause acid reflux. People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease actually have a lower esophageal sphincter that doesn’t function properly, letting partially digested food out to wreck havoc.
There are two ways that the lower esophageal sphincter functions abnormally, the first being a weak contraction of the sphincter. With a lower esophageal sphincter that contracts weakly the ability to prevent reflux is reduced. The second abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter functions abnormally is with a transient relaxation. This causes a prolonged relaxation allows the process to go on for too long, allowing reflux to occur.
When an individual eats the stomach becomes distended with food, causing the lower esophageal sphincter to be overcome with food and reflux occurs. Even people who don’t regularly suffer from acid reflux will have reflux after a large meal, due to the abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter.
With gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux, the answer isn’t always found on the shelf of a drug store or by changing an eating habit. With certain conditions or diseases the only solution is to undergo a procedure that is run by the doctor or medical professional in a hospital or outpatient situation. While many may fear the actual sight or smell of a hospital or the fear of undergoing any type of medical procedure it could cause a life change that considerably helps your quality of life.
The most common type of acid reflux surgery is that of fundoplication or anti-reflux surgery to reroute or restructure the stomach in hope of overcoming the disease. The doctor will start by making a small incision in the abdomen or some may choose to use a less invasive procedure called laparoscopy, a technique that uses several small punctured holes to view the stomach with small viewing devices. The doctor will then goes in and perform a procedure that could make a massive difference in a person’s life.
Regurgitation- With regurgitation in the acid reflux condition you will taste a little bit of the refluxed liquid in the back of your mouth. Most of the liquid is in very small amounts that never reach past the lower esophagus, although with some extreme cases certain individuals will regurgitate a large amount of liquid with some food mixed in. The upper esophageal sphincter is a large muscular ring that prevents esophageal contents from backing up into the throat. While some may actually taste a large quantity of liquid in the mouth, most will taste just a small enough amount to give a nasty flavor.
With the incision the doctor will enter and begin pulling any hiatal hernial sac below the diaphragm and stitching it there. This causes the diaphragm to tighten around the esophagus and wrap around the upper stomach to form an artificial lower esophageal sphincter. All of this will then cause the acid to be adequately taken care of in the system without the symptoms of acid reflux disease being suffered. No major incision will be needed in the process and the patient should immediately see a difference.
About four out of every five people who have fundoplication will see a tremendous difference in their lifestyle that should last close to ten years. With many patients who have gone through the surgery the use of antacids or other acid reflux treating drugs is still necessary, but not suggested by the doctors. There have been no major complications of the surgery noted to this day, but every body does react differently to surgery so it is necessary to understand that it is possible to have complications as a result of the surgery. Consult a doctor to go through the right diagnosis before settling on fundoplication.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is most definitely not a matter to be discussed lightly, but it is hard to understand unless you know the particulars involved in the condition. Uncomplicated GERD has a few very uncomfortable and very understandable symptoms that happen to the inflicted person. By learning a little bit about uncomplicated gastroesophageal reflux disease you can spot the symptoms when they start on you and get medication to ease the discomfort as soon as possible.
Heartburn- Nerve fibers in the esophagus are stimulated by the acid refluxed in the system by GERD. Some feel heartburn right over or directly around the heart, hence the name, but others may feel it clear up to the neck. It is generally a sharp, burning, or pressured pain that causes many to suspect that they are having heart troubles instead of the symptoms of GERD. Most who suffer from the heartburn related to acid reflux will experience pain over an extended period of time and then have a break from the pain for a while, instead of having the pain everyday on a regular cycle.
Nausea- Almost every person suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease will not suffer from nausea or vomiting, but it does occur in a small amount of cases. Most patients will suffer from nausea OR heartburn but most don’t suffer from both at the same time. This has not been confirmed or understood by doctors at this point, but it does seem to be a common fact.
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