Acid reflux or GERD happens when contents from our stomach move up into our esophagus. It’s also called acid vomiting or gastroesophageal reflux.
If we have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, we might have a condition known as gastrico-o esophageal reflux.
Acid reflux Symptoms
Generally, acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable feeling of burning sensation in our chest, which rises up toward our neck. Similarly, this feeling is often known as heartburn. Particularly if we have acid reflux, we might develop a sour or bitter taste at the back of our mouth. It might also cause us to vomit food or liquid from our stomach to our mouth.
Also in some cases, GERD can cause difficulty swallowing food. It can sometimes lead to breathing problems such as feeling breathless also.
Causes of acid reflux
Especially the lower esophageal is the food pipe, it is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when we swallow food. Such as it works as a valve, just after the food gets down it shuts on its own.
Acid reflux happens when our food pipe doesn’t tighten or close properly. For instance, this allows digestive juices and other contents from our stomach to rise up into our esophagus, which is known as acid reflux, it gives a bitter or sour taste and we may feel a burning sensation in the chest area.
For the most part, To prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD, our doctor may encourage us to make changes to our eating habits or other habits.
They might also suggest taking over-the-counter medications, like:
- H2 receptor blockers
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
In some cases, they might prescribe stronger H2 receptor blockers or PPIs. If GERD is severe and not responding to other treatments, surgery might be the final option.
Some over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause side effects.
Surgery of GERD
Generally, in most cases, lifestyle and some habit changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms. But when it does not work then surgery is necessary.
Diagnosing Acid Reflux
The doctor conducts a physical exam and asks about the symptom we are experiencing.
They might use one or more of the following procedures mention below to check for complications of Acid Reflux:
- Barium swallow: after drinking a barium solution, and x-ray imaging is used to see the upper digest tract
- Upper endoscopy: a flexible tube in which a tiny camera and light is connected is inserted through the mouth and food pipe. It examines and collects a sample of tissue for biopsy if needed.
- Oesophageal manometer: a flexible tube is put inside to measure the length of the oesophageal muscle
- Oesophageal pH monitoring: a monitor is inserted into the oesophagus to learn if and when stomach acid enters it
Risk factors of GERD
In conclusion, certain conditions can increase your chances of developing GERD, including:
- hiatus hernia
- connective tissue disorders
- Some lifestyle behaviour scan also raise your risk of GERD, including:
- eating large meals
- lying down or going to sleep shortly after eating
- eating certain types of foods, such as deep fried or spicy foods
- drinking certain types of beverages, such as soda, coffee, or alcohol
- using NSAIDS, such as aspirin or ibuprofen
Such as if we have any of these risk factors, taking steps to modify them may help us to prevent or manage GERD.
Possible complications of GERD
For most people, GERD doesn’t cause serious complications. Usually, in rare cases, it can lead to serious or even life-threatening health problems.
Hidden complications of GERD include:
- esophagitis, an inflammation of your oesophagus
- oesophageal stricture, which happens when your oesophagus narrows or tightens
- Barrett’s esophagus, involving permanent changes to the lining of your oesophagus
- Esophageal cancer, which affects a small portion of people with Barrett’s esophagus
- asthma, chronic cough, or other breathing problems, which may develop if you breath stomach acid into your lungs
- tooth enamel erosion, gum disease, or other dental problems
Thus, to lower the chances of complications, it’s important to take steps to prevent and treat the symptoms of GERD.
Diet and GERD
Generally in some people, certain types of foods and beverages activate GERD Common dietary triggers include:
- high-fat foods
- citrus fruit
- spicy foods
By the way, dietary food triggers can vary from one person to another.
Home remedies for GERD
There are several lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help relieve GERD symptoms.
For example, it might help to:
- quit smoking
- lose excess weight
- eat smaller meals
- chew gum after eating
- lying down after eating should be avoided
- avoid foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms
- avoid wearing tight clothing
- practice relaxation techniques
However, some herbal remedies might also provide relief.
Similarly, herbs commonly used for GERD include:
- licorice root
- marshmallow root
Anxiety and GERD
Anxiety might make some of the symptoms of GERD worse. If you suspect that anxiety is making your symptoms worse, should talk to your doctor. Some things you can do to reduce anxiety include:
- limit our exposure to experiences, people, and places that make you feel anxious
- In addition to practising relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing exercises
- In this case, we should adjust our sleep habits, exercise routine, or other lifestyle habits
IBS and GERD
Generally, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can affect your large intestine. For example, common symptoms include:
Therefore if you notice both the symptoms of IBS and GERD, then we should make an appointment with our doctor. Accordingly, they might recommend changes to our diet, medications, or other treatments.
Drinking alcohol and GERD
Likewise in some people with GERD, certain foods and drinks can make the symptoms worse. Especially those dietary triggers might include alcoholic beverages.
For the most part, depending on your specific triggers, we might be able to drink alcohol in moderation. To summarize in some people, even small amounts of alcohol provokes symptoms of GERD.
Likewise, If we mix alcohol with fruit juices or other mixers, those mixers might also trigger symptoms.
Pregnancy and GERD
Above all Pregnancy can increase the chances of experiencing acid reflux. If a woman had GERD before getting pregnant then symptoms might get worse.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the muscles in our esophagus to reflux more frequently. Also, growing a fetus places pressure on your stomach. Similarly, this can increase the risk of stomach acid entering the esophagus.
Many medications that are used to treat acid reflux are safe to take during pregnancy. But in some cases, the doctor might advise, to avoid certain antacids or other treatments
The difference between GERD and heartburn
Generally, heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux. Most people experience it from time to time.
But if we get heartburn more than twice a week, we might have GERD.
Hence GERD is a chronic type of acid reflux that can cause complications if left untreated.