Acid Reflux

Acid RefluxThe word ‘Reflux’ refers to something which recedes or flows back. Acid Reflux is described as the condition wherein the gastric acids from the stomach flow back into the esophagus resulting to heartburn. The tube located between the stomach and the pharynx, at the back of the throat is called esophagus. Acid Reflux seems to occur when the esophagus is not in a position to hold the acids that help in food digestion in the stomach. Reflux action pushes the acids back creating a severe burning sensation in the chest.

In most of the cases acid reflux is not harmful. But patients with chronic reflux experience difficulty in swallowing and develop a cancer of the esophagus. This, being a regular problem, persists into a Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.


Symptoms

The basic symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • A burning sensation called heartburn that radiates from the stomach towards the chest
  • Regurgitation where food repulses back into the mouth creating a bitter or sour taste
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain.
  • Dysphagia, food stucking in the throat which is difficult to swallow
  • Hoarseness, dental erosion and asthma
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Weight loss without any reason

Causes

Overeating, excessive consumption of coffee, spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolates is the major cause for acid reflux action. People who smoke and consume alcoholic drinks are at a high risk as both reduce the working of the digestive system. Obesity, junk food, fried items, eating too much before going to bed are some of the reasons for persistent reflux. Some peppers and chilli peppers might irritate the food pipe. Sometimes acid reflux is found in women during the last few months of pregnancy when the growing baby presses on the stomach pushing back the food content. Studies have shown that people suffering from Hiatal Hernia (defect in the lower esophageal sphincter) and Peptic Ulcers may develop acid reflux. If the digestive enzymes are not sufficient in the stomach, the digestive system slows down and increases the level of acids. Few asthmatic drugs can also create a reflux.
Acid Reflux Acid Reflux Acid Reflux

Complications

Acid Reflux is generally considered a common problem. It is often true, but it is not left without creating major complications, some of which might turn out to be quite serious. A bleeding from the surface of the esophagus may be the possible complication arising from refluxes. Food blockage during reflux may cause irritation of the esophagus. This kind of blockage is called Stricture. An acid reflux might complicate the lining of the esophagus as it gets exposed to acids that change its character. It is commonly referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. The condition of such patients is quite serious as there is a chance of developing a cancer in the esophagus. In some cases, the acid moves back into the upper throat and causes problems in the respiratory system, leading to laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

The above complications trigger acid reflux as a serious problem which has to be checked and treated at the earliest.

Treatment

The probable medication for acid reflux at milder stages would be a normal antacid which is in the form of a liquid or tablets. In case of severity, Mylanta II and Maalox II are suitable. Histamine receptor blockers help in decreasing acids in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitor is the drug prescribed to reduce refluxes. Omepraxole and Lansoprazole are the common inhibitors given to patients to reduce inflammation in the esophagus. An acid reflux surgery is suggested in cases where medication is proved to be ineffective.

Treating it in a natural way, a good change in the lifestyle would be suitable to control discomfort and heartburn of a reflux action. It is better to avoid coffee, smoking, alcohol and most preferably overeating. People with obesity need to exercise to reduce weight. Eating more frequent meals with less quantity would be suggested because large meals expand the stomach. Spicy foods need to be taken care of to avoid heartburn. Sleeping after two hours of eating and with the upper part of the body in a raised position would reduce the acids from pushing upwards.

Home remedies

Traditional methods of reducing acid reflux are using home made remedies which are easily available and inexpensive. Fresh pine apple fruit or juice is said to be the best way to cure inflammation. Other remedies include herbal tea, cinnamon, chicory root tea and the skin of grapefruit. Carrot juice, lemon juice with sugar or honey and without salt, drinking cold milk thrice a day, taking curd with onion pieces would be beneficial to reduce acid reflux.

However good dietary habits and a healthy lifestyle help in solving the problem of acid reflux. Wholesome food, fresh fruits and vegetables and above all exercising prevent digestive problems.



Posted by on May.14, 2011, under Diseases

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