Foods to avoid if you have acid reflux aka Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly referred to as GERD
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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.
LPR occurs when the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opens and allows reflux to enter the throat. 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.
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.
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.
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:
GERD episodes occur frequently during the day, quite often following the consumption of too much food or foods high in fat content.
- 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
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:
- 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!
cid 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.
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
Children and 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.
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 http://www.acid-reflux.expert-health.com
Acid Reflux Symptoms
The typical cause of heartburn or acid reflux is when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. If your lower esophageal sphincter is not normal, stomach contents may flow back into your esophagus and cause heartburn. Stomach acid flows into the esophagus (called acid reflux), causing the burning sensation. Acid reflux is caused by stomach spasms which cause acid.
Many believe that acid reflux symptoms affect the heart or mistakenly diagnose acid reflux as a heart related problem. In fact acid reflux has nothing to do with the heart - it is a digestive problem. Indeed for most people, a proper eating habit may help fixing the heartburn problem. Eating high-fiber bread instead of white bread, and exercising for 30 minutes at least once a week, decreased the odds of getting heartburn. Keeping a daily diary for a week can help keep track of specific food items and circumstances related to episodes of heartburn.
One is solution to eliminate acid reflux is to stop smoking. After a meal, when the stomach is full, smoking increases the chances that you will suffer from acid reflux. Loss of weight can also reduce stomach acid reflux. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to heartburn in their third trimester as the growing uterus puts increasing pressure on the stomach.
Here are some easy things that doctors recommend:
Wait at least three hours before going to bed after eating.
Sleep with your head at least 8" higher than your stomach so that gravity can help keep stomach acids from coming up into your esophagus.
Avoid exercising or bending over right after eating.
Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of the three, traditional, big ones.
Acid reflux tends to be more of a problem at night, while you are lying down or sleeping. Having the head and shoulders higher than the stomach lets gravity work to keep acid from refluxing.
If heartburn is a continual or severe problem, it's a good idea to see your doctor. In patients with acid reflux, the heart valve pressure is usually low, which is the root of the problem. Some people have only an occasional acid reflux symptom. For others, however, acid reflux and regurgitation are persistent, chronic symptoms that return several times a week, if not every day.
Medical evaluation of heartburn is recommended for individuals who experience persistent symptoms several times a week. If acid reflux (heartburn) occurs on two or more days per week despite the measures discussed above, you should consult your family doctor. For chronic reflux and heartburn, the doctor may prescribe medications to reduce acid in the stomach.
Susanne Garris is a stay at home mom. But that doesn't mean she isn't at work. Susanne works as a research assistant and freelance writer on a variety of subjects. Her private research is devoted to blogs you can find at: http://www.acid-reflux-symptoms.blogspot.com
The term GERD is a acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease and is a very glorified term for heartburn. Frequent, persistent heartburn is the primary symptom associated with acid reflux disease or GERD. With GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, the tube leading from the throat to the stomach. If you suffer from persistent heartburn two or more days a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Though heartburn is the most common of the acid reflux disease symptoms, other signs may also manifest themselves.
For these individuals, acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), may be at the heart of their burn. Prevacid is a prescription drug that helps GERD-sufferers prevent the acid that causes heartburn pain associated with acid reflux disease.
Besides the discomfort of heartburn, reflux results in symptoms of oesophageal inflammation, such as odynophagia (pain on swallowing) and dysphagia (difficult swallowing). Remarkably, the frequency of severe heartburn seems to decline with age, possibly due to a decrease in esophageal pain perception and atrophic gastritis. Although elderly patients may have fewer complaints of heartburn, their disease is usually more severe and has more complications. The burning, pressure, or pain of heartburn can last as long as 2 hours and is often worse after eating; and, can include very unpleasant symptoms, such as heartburn, chest pain, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, throat irritation and bad breath. However, some people with GERD may not experience heartburn, but instead feel a pain in the chest, hoarseness, or problems swallowing. The feeling of heartburn my be similar to heart pain, but in actuality a heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart. Never assume that chest pain is heartburn or ingestion. GERD Symptoms Heartburn is described as a burning pain in the stomach that rises up towards the chest or towards the neck. A positive Bernstein test is considered if the patient experiences heartburn or chest pain. The acid perfusion test may have its utility more in explaining reflux as the cause of atypical chest pain. Potentially dangerous confusion can arise when someone neglects their heart pain believing it to be heartburn.
Only 2 to 3 percent of acid reflux events reach the conscious level and are perceived by patients with GERD. Abnormalities that make it dysfunctional promote acid reflux and the constellation of GERD problems. Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD. Most cases of acid reflux respond to lifestyle changes and prescription medication. Anyone experiencing heartburn twice a week or more may have GERD. Occasional heartburn is common but does not necessarily mean one has GERD.
Susanne Garris is a stay at home mom. But that doesn't mean she isn't at work. Susanne works as a research assistant and freelance writer on a variety of subjects. Her private research is devoted to blogs you can find at: http://www.acid-reflux-treatment.blogspot.com
Acid reflux is scientifically known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is a disease characterized by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus resulting to chronic symptoms or mucosal damage.
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.
Acid reflux is often caused by temporary or permanent alterations in the lining that separates the esophagus and the stomach. Ineffectiveness of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) or a temporary LES relaxation connected with a hiatal hernia are just some of the common causes of acid reflux. The process can also lead to a backflow of gastric juices to the pharynx or mouth.
Among adults, the most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn which is caused by the presence of acid in the esophagus. Heartburn is characterized by a painful burning sensation behind the sternum or breastbone. Another symptom or manifestation of acid reflux is esophagitis which is characterized by an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus which is also known as the mucosal lining. Esophagitis also causes swallowing difficulties and chronic pains in the chest area.
Sometimes, individuals suffering from acid reflux may also experience coughing, persistent pain in the ears, hoarseness or a change in the voice and even sinusitis. If acid reflux gets complicated it may lead to formation of a stricture or ulcers in the esophagus. It may also lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus and in worst cases to cancer of the esophagus.
It doesn’t mean however that a person who regularly suffers from heartburn is suffering from acid reflux. By all means, the heartburn may be from other causes. But if a person suffers from heartburn for more than once a week, then he or she is at a risk of acquiring acid reflux. Person with hiatal hernia are also at a greater risk in developing acid reflux than those who are not.
The pain felt by persons suffering from heartburn is caused by the reflux of acid contents from the stomach to the esophagus. A pain in the chest area coming upwards the mouth.
Persons suffering from acid reflux may also experience tasting something sour or salty behind her throat. This is cause by regurgitation. This sour and salty taste may persist even without heartburn,
Other less common symptoms of acid reflux include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, halitosis or bad breath, repeated throat clearing and water brash or hyeprsecretion of saliva.
The symptoms of acid reflux in children are also the same as that on adults. Acid reflux in children may manifest in frequent spitting, throwing up repeatedly, coughing and other respiratory problems. Children suffering from acid reflux may also experience weight loss, frequent crying, loss of appetite and bad breath. Parents must remember though that children may show one or many symptoms. There is not one symptom that is always present in children with acid reflux.
The cause of acid reflux in children, especially in babies is their immature digestive system. This is why infants stop having acid reflux when they reach the first year of age. However, some children do not outgrow acid reflux. Some continue o suffer from the disease up to the teen years.
The best thing to do for parents of children suffering from acid reflux is to take the children to the doctor as soon as possible to avoid any complications.
Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides acid reflux resources on http://www.aboutacidreflux.info
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