Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms: Knowing your Body
What is Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid Reflux defined: Acid reflux disease is a condition in which the stomach acids abnormally reflux into the esophagus. This phenomenon is irregularly experienced by most people, most especially after eating.
Gastric and Stomach Acids
Our body uses gastric and stomach acids to break down the food that we eat. Normally, after the digestion in the stomach, the food is delivered by the digestive muscles to the intestines for extra digestion. But in patients who have acid reflux disease, the acidic stomach contents are moved back to the esophagus, which then causes inflammation. Cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, pregnancy, and fatty foods are some factors which worsens acid reflux conditions.
40 Years of Age or Older
Our present knowledge about acid reflux based on medical researches tells us that this disease is common in men as it is in women. There is no sexual preference. Moreover, the prevalence of acid reflux is more frequent in people of 40 years of age or more.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Symptoms of acid reflux may be typical or atypical. But based on the diagnosis of acid reflux patients, only 70% of those who have this disease manifest typical symptoms.
Typical or esophageal symptoms concern indicators which are related with the esophagus. Such symptoms include the following:
This is a condition in which the patient feels a painful burning feeling in the esophagus. The pain often develops in the chest and may swell to the neck or throat. This is most probable to occur in relation with these activities: after a heavy meal, lifting, bending over, and lying down. Based on one study, about 75% of acid reflux patients experience this symptom at night. These nigh-time patients also tend to experience more harsh pain than those whose symptom occurs at other times.
Researches show that about half of acid reflux patients have dyspepsia. This is a syndrome which consists of pain and distress in the upper abdomen, nausea after a meal, and stomach fullness. It is not a rule however, that those who have dyspepsia have acid reflux.
This is when the gastric contents back up into the pharynx and sometimes as far as the mouth. In cases where the acids have spilled into the tracheobronchial tree, respiratory complications can be stimulated.
note: There are many instances, though, that acid reflux patients do not manifest symptoms such as regurgitation and heartburn. Instead, they experience atypical or extraesophageal symptoms which include the following:
Although it does not commonly happen, acid reflux patients suffer from symptoms that occur in the throat. Hoarseness, the feeling of having a lump in the throat, dry cough are undergone by those who have acid laryngitis, a throat symptom. Patients can also have difficulty in swallowing, a condition known as dysphagia. In critical cases, the food may get trapped in the throat or even choke, which can result to a severe chest pain. Other throat symptoms are chronic sore throat and persistent hiccups.
Vomiting and Nausea
When a patient suffers from nausea which persists for weeks, he may have acid reflux. There are few instances where vomiting can occur as often as once a day.
Coughing and wheezing are counted as respiratory symptoms. These result from the overrunning of the stomach acids into the tracheobronchial tree creating bronchoconstriction.
The Duration of Acid Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease can last for several months if not given proper medical attention. Drug treatment may only be required for a short time. But when the symptoms tend to repetitively occur, the drug treatment may have to be reapplied.
Can Acid Reflux Disease Be Cured?
Heal Your Heartburn Through Acid Reflux Diet
Acid Reflux Disease – what is it?
Acid Reflux, another term for heartburn, is a disease which is created by a simple imbalance of chemical make-up in the body–the attack of acid reflux in the esophagus when it is supposed to be in the stomach only.
The fact that Acid Reflux, the acid indigestion, affects not just adults but also infants and children, make it essential for everyone to be aware of its symptoms and how it can be prevented.
Acid Reflux Disease: Food Triggers
Since the Acid Reflux is triggered by various foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, spicy foods, including fried and fatty foods. Together with the time of day the foods are eaten and over eating which causes excessive weight. Therefore, the key to avoid the heartburning uneasiness brought by the Acid reflux also lies on the foodsóa manage diet.
Truth in studies show that a specific food can head out acid reflux, so it is vital that everyone must take a careful observation of their eating habits.
Nevertheless, any person who is suffering from Acid Reflux needs a diet that would suit to treat the illness, the foods that should be taken and those which should not be.
Now, you might be wondering what could be the best diet to observe to avoid acid reflux, the heartburn-free recipes that are fitted to an Acid Reflux diet.
It was distinguished that drinking milk can be a speedy cure to alleviate acid reflux trouble. Although, milk produces an action and encourages discharge of more stomach acid, causing then acid reflux.
Eat Small Meals
So, people affected by heartburn should follow a diet wherein they eat a small meal during dinner and follow it up with a small snack before they go to sleep, crackers for instance.
Likewise, they should make sure that they their meal are rich in complex carbohydrates. This includes breads, rice and pasta; this fixes the excessive acid in the stomach, hence, giving it an easy feeling.
Chew Your Foods
Chew your foods well, do not rush on eating, 20 minutes for each meal will do. Extract all the nourishment that you can get in your food.
Along with the diet, it is also advisable to keep yourself in a straight position during and after eating, for least 45 minutes.
Eliminate High-Fat Foods
Remove from your diet high-fat foods, this will tend to stay in the stomach longer, with this, the stomach will be forced to produce more acids for digestion.
In addition, avoid eating large meals; this will also stimulate the stomach to produce more acids to digest them.
One the medical specialistsí recommendations is to add more plant protein in your diet, like beans and lentils, in this process the animal protein that you have taken will be replaced.
Be Mindful When You Eat
Also, try to observe in your diet the time you spend for eating, the amount of your meal, your relaxation when you eat, and how thorough you chew your food. It is advisable that you take several small meals in a day, than you take large meals regularly, for instance six small meals a day will do than having three large ones. The procedure is simply breaking up the meal.
Health and Wellness for Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms
If you want additional information regarding proper diet to battle Acid Reflux, you can visit a nutrition-oriented health care practitioner like a dietician, naturopathic physician, or nutritionist. They can give you accurate dietary schemes that will fit your private health needs and objectives.
Keeping Pregnant Women Away From Acid Reflux Dilemma
Many women tend to experience heartburn symptoms when they are still carrying their babies, and this happens for several reasons.
Increase in Hormone Production
One of these is the increase of hormones in the women’s body while they are pregnant. The occurrence of this will result in softening the ligaments which function is to keep the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) firmly closed. When the LES rests at unsuitable periods, tendency is, this will let the gastric acid and food to reflux back to the esophagus and throat.
One more reason of experiencing heartburn during pregnancy is because the changes in the body and the development of the baby creates more pressure in the womenís stomach. Therefore, the stomach contents are forced right into the LES, and then to the esophagus.
However, there are several methods that a pregnant woman can observe to lessen the discomfort brought by heartburn. The following are good advices, although this may not remove the heartburn totally:
Avoid the food that triggers heartburn
Examples of this are chocolates, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, mustard, tomatoes and tomato based products, fatty foods, fried foods, and highly seasoned dishes. Try to refer to medical specialists to know the complete list of foods to avoid Acid Reflux. Also, for foods that you may take which contains little danger of causing heartburn.
Get rid of drinks that have caffeine
These drinks include tea, coffee, and soda. Too much of these will cause the LES to relax and let the acid to return into the esophagus.
Stay away from alcohol beverages
This, like caffeine tends to relax the LES thus, creating the same effectótriggering heartburn.
Avoid eating large meals
It is suggested that taking numerous small meals throughout the day will be better.
Avoid rush in eating your meals
Chewing food thoroughly will really help in avoidance of heartburn, so better take your time in eating.
Rest for at least three hours
Rest for at least three hours after having your last meal before taking your sleep.
Drink more water
A pregnant woman is advised to take more glasses of water a day, at least 8 to 10 glasses, though this must be taken not just during meals. Through this, the stomach will expand, and then the LES will be given more pressure, obliging it to open inappropriately. Hence, it is really recommended to drink more water and other fluids in between meals.
Elevate the head when sleeping
When sleeping elevate the head of the bed for at least six to eight inches. Try to sleep with an elevated head and shoulders through a wedge pillow. Through this, the gravity will work as much that it will keep the acids in your stomach in their placeóin the stomach, not in the esophagus. Try to consult physicians to gain additional knowledge on how to relieve nighttime heartburn.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes
Tightness around the waist and stomach will trigger heartburn as it causes uneasiness.
When bending, do it at the knees
When bending, do it at the knees, not at the waist. This will avoid in creating too much pressure in the stomach.
Sit erect in a relaxing chair.
Maintain a sensible amount of weight
Unnecessary weight and fatness will give more stress in your stomach. As a result, this will force stomach contents throughout the LES and to the esophagus. Stay with your doctors guidelines.
Doctors stated that smoking could cause several effects to a pregnant woman, much that it can add to the possibility of experiencing heartburn.
Overlooking Acid Reflux Disease in Children
An 11-year-old boy in Boston developed a Gastro esophageal reflux Disease (GERD). According to his mother, Cathy, it was the end of June in the year 2005 when his son developed a cough which usually happens during sleep, and even during daytime. It is only a short dry cough symptom. His pediatrician thought it was only allergy, however, when his son was tested, result showed that his son had no allergy. According to her, it was his sonís asthma that relates to GERD.
Studies show that GERD is likewise normal to infants and children like in adults, though this fact is often times being overlooked. The symptoms come in continual sickness, coughing, and other respiratory trouble.
Children are vulnerable to GERD because of their immature digestive system. Truth is majority of the infants grow out of GERD once they reach the age of one year old.
The medical specialists further stated that symptoms for children may come in difficulty in swallowing foods, or failure to grow. The doctors recommended that in situation like this it is best to lessen the amount of acid in the childrenís stomach before it could lead to acid reflux, since this disease is not very curable in children.
However, the doctor suggested some approaches to avoid acid reflux on children; an example of these is burping the infant quite a few times during feeding, or letting the infant stay in an erect position for 30 minutes after nourishing.
Although, for a child ages three and up, doctors suggested to keep them off from sodas that includes caffeine like soft drinks, carbonated drinks, spicy foods like peppermint, acidic foods like citrus fruits, too much chocolate, and fried and fatty foods. Ideally, establishing a healthy eating habit diet can really decrease the acid reflux in children.
It is also suggested that children will eat smaller meals before sleeping, if possible, do not allow them to eat two to three hours before sleeping, also, elevate the head of their bed for at least 30 degrees.
Further treatments include the use of H2 blockers; this is available in any drugs store. Prevacid, proton plump inhibitors, can also be used in treating acid flux for children.
However, if these treatments fail to stop the symptoms, other treatment method needs to be done. It is very atypical, but doctorsí recommends surgery, this is so far the best treatment for relentless symptoms which do not anymore counter to other treatments.
The Esophageal reflux surgery for children is designated for children who have had unsuccessful medical treatments, and continuous surgery is essential as the child grows.
Now, if you get confused whether when is the time to consult a pediatrician regarding acid reflux. The answer is you observe, observe the amounts of vomiting of the child, if it already comes out in green or yellow or appears to be like blood or coffee grounds, there difficulty in breathing after vomiting, and there is pain in swallowing, immediately consult a pediatrician before the symptom gets aggravated.
So to prevent the occurrence of this disease, stay away from the habit of leaning forward after eating, or worse, sleeping after taking a large amount of food.
Take note, advanced acid reflux disease has a great possibility to end serious medical complications, and it may lead to hospitalization.
Be keen of the possible symptoms so will not overlook it. Take care of your kids.
Acid Reflux in Baby: Keeping Your Baby Protected
Acid reflux, which is also termed as gastroesophageal reflux, is one of the most frequent problems among infants. Babies with acid reflux often suffer from a range of conditions, from a mild degree to a severe one, such as recurrent spitting up, abdominal pain, and night waking.
This discussion would be more comprehensive with the understanding of the physiological or the mechanical aspect of the condition. The body has a band of muscle in a circular structure that is called the lower esophageal sphincter. This muscle detaches the esophagus from the stomach. When food comes into the stomach, it closes so as to prevent the stomach acids and contents from backing up into the esophagus or regurgitating. But in the case of some babies, the lower esophageal sphincter has grown immature. As such, the partially digested food and digestive acids are allowed to be refluxed. This condition causes irritation in the esophagus lining which results to inflammation that is also commonly called as heartburn.
Acid reflux among babies usually develops when they are between two to four weeks old. Doctors usually prescribe medicines that minimize the production of digestive acids. Within six to nine months, the acid reflux starts to naturally subside. At this time period, the babies spend most of their time in an upright position. This is to apply the law of gravity on the food taken in; that is, the food stays down more naturally and reduces possible regurgitation.
The following are helpful pointers on feeding and positioning of babies to lessen acid reflux:
1. Prepare smaller feedings recurrently. It makes sense to feed your baby more than usual but less than the accustomed. If lesser volume of milk goes into the stomach, the digestion will be faster and there will be fewer amounts of contents available for regurgitation.
2. Maintain the baby in an upright position after feeding. As discussed earlier, gravity helps to keep the digestive contents down. Position your baby seated in your lap while his head rests on your chest. Keep this position for at least half an hour after feeding.
3. Breastfeeding helps a lot. Breast milk is well-known to have many advantages over other commercial formula, mainly for babies with acid reflux. Breast milk can be digested faster, which of course lessens spitting up, and it has special enzymes that assists digestion. In addition to that, breast milk does not trigger allergy to babies compared to other milks available in the market. But for those who are formula-feeding, it is advisable to use milk with a hypoallergenic formula as advised by a doctor. Aside from having higher tolerance with sensitive intestines, hypoallergenic milk can also be digested faster by the stomach so as to minimize refluxes.
4. Set your baby in a comfortable position when asleep. Since when a baby lies flat when sleeping, gravity cannot help in keeping the food down in this set-up. As a result, a baby with acid reflux often has to endure a sore night waking. If a baby can sleep soundly, then there will be no need to call for a change in his habit. But some babies become restless, which can be noted by abdominal pain, acid breath, and wet burps. In this case, it is recommended to elevate the babyís crib to about 30 degrees. This will be enough to reduce the regurgitation. You may also try to train him to sleep on his left side. It is in this position where the inlet of the stomach is higher than the exit. This will also help to keep the food down.
Acid Reflux Medication: Keeping Heartburn at Bay
In a normal digestive process, the partially digested food is being forwarded by muscular movements from the stomach to the intestines. However, for some people, the stomach contents travel back to the esophagus from the stomach. This condition is known as acid reflux.
Common symptoms of this disease include heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation, chest pains, dental erosion, hoarseness, asthma, dyspepsia, vomiting, and many others.
If not properly treated, acid reflux can last for several months. But drug treatment can play an essential part in the treatment process of a patient.
The most common medications used include the following:
These drugs are used to neutralize the acids in the digestive tract and are primarily taken in for relief of mild symptoms, such as occasional episodes of indigestion and heartburn. They also act to incite the defensive mechanisms of our stomach by building up the secretion of mucous and bicarbonate. Most antacids can be bought over the counter even without a medical prescription. Moreover, these drugs are one of the first to be recommended by professionals to lessen the pain brought about by heartburn or mild symptoms. The three basic ingredients of antacids are magnesium, calcium, and aluminum.
Acid suppressants such as histamine blockers are also commonly used. Histamine blockers obstruct the production of stomach acids by alienating the actions of histamine. Histamine is a chemical in the body that promotes the production and secretion of acids in the stomach. Anti-histamines are available even without prescription and offers relief of symptoms in most of the patients with frequent acid reflux. Patients have to wait for 30 to 90 minutes for these drugs to take effect. But their effect also lasts six to 24 hours. In cases of severe symptoms, a patient may have to take two dosages a day. In some researches, histamine blockers have shown to improve asthmatic symptoms in those who endure from both acid reflux and asthma.
However, in a study dated 2001, it was suggested that histamine blockers occasionally impart complete relief of symptoms for dyspepsia and heartburn.
Proton pump inhibitors are also employed as a medication. They act to trim down the production of stomach acids by reacting with the cells found in the stomach wall which produce and release acids into the stomach. However, researches have revealed that the use of proton pump inhibitors poses some concerns. Side effects, although uncommon, include diarrhea, headache, itching, and nausea. Moreover, these drugs should also be stayed away from by pregnant and breast-feeding mothers.
Another medication that is generally handled is the use of agents which protect the mucus lining in the gastrointestinal region. This kind of drug acts by attaching to an ulcer crater so that it will be guarded from damage caused by digestive acids. It is advisable for people undergoing maintenance therapy with mild or moderate acid reflux conditions. Likewise, it has minor side effects, including constipation.
Anti-spasm drugs are also utilized to prevent acid and even non-acid reflux. A gamma-amino acid butyric acid agonist, an anti-spasm drug is generally used to abate the spasms in the muscles. Unlike most medicines used for acid reflux, it can also lessen non-acid refluxes and amplify the pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach and prevents backing up of stomach contents.
Using Acid Reflux Medicine to Get Rid of the Annoying Heartburns
Alcohol lovers would often love to match their drink with spicy dishes and greasy and fatty foods. The perfect combination makes the drinking perfect to the palate. Unfortunately though, this is bad for the esophagus and the stomach. The alcohol, the spicy dishes and the greasy and fatty foods causes acid reflux or also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Other causes of acid reflux are pregnancy, genetic influences, presence of infection in the gastrointestinal tract, and the Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
The Gastrointestinal System of the body is composed of the following: the oral cavity, the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and the anus. The main function of the Gastrointestinal System is to digest food particles, absorb digestive juices and eliminate undigested materials which are of course the feces.
What does Acid Reflux Affect in the body?
The acid reflux affects the stomach and the esophagus. This occurs when the liquid from the stomach which contains pepsin, an irritating substance produced by the chief cells goes up to the esophagus passing through the cardiac sphincter. The cardiac sphincter is the opening to the stomach from the esophagus. Its function is to prevent reflux of the substances in the stomach because these substances cause esophageal irritation and ulcer. If the cardiac sphincter fails to close after receiving food from the esophagus, acid reflux occurs.
Acid reflux can sometimes be a chronic condition. Once a person suffers from it, it becomes a life-long ordeal. Injury in the esophagus also is a chronic condition. Even if the esophagus has healed with treatment and it is being stopped, the injury will return in most patients within a few months. Once treatment for said illness is begun, it usually needs to be continued indefinitely.
Normally, liquid reflux in the stomach occurs to a healthy individual. However, people with the acid reflux or GERD, has more acid in the liquid. This may be caused by the genetic influences, specifically, an increased number of parietal cells which produce pepsin in the stomach.
The body has mechanisms to protect itself from the harmful effects of reflux and acid. Most reflux happens during the day when individuals are upright. In said position, the refluxed liquid is more likely to flow back down into the stomach due to gravity. Moreover, while individuals are awake, they continually swallow, regardless if there is reflux or not. Each time individuals swallow the reflux liquid slide back into the stomach. The last body defense to reflux is the salivary glands in the mouth. These glands produce saliva, which contains bicarbonate. Every time an individual swallows, the bicarbonate-containing saliva slides down the esophagus. The bicarbonate neutralizes the small amount of acid that remains in the esophagus.
Basically, acid reflux medicines inhibit the production or release of pepsin produced by the chief cells and hydrochloric acid produced by the parietal cells in the stomach. Other medicines may not totally inhibit the production but they neutralize the acid.
The acid reflux medicines are the Histamine Blockers or the H2 receptor antagonists. Histamine stimulates a pump in the stomach that releases hydrochloric acid. The H2 receptor antagonists prevent the histamine from stimulating this pump. They block the production of the hydrochloric acid thereby reducing secretion and concentration into the stomach.
One of the acid reflux medicines is the Cimetidine which was introduced in 1975. It has a short half-life and short duration of action. The three most popular H2 blockers are Ranitidine, Famotidine and Nizatidine. They are more potent than Cimetidine because in addition to blocking gastric acid secretions, they also promote healing of the ulcer by eliminating its cause. They also have longer duration of action.
As the clichÈ goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, you can avoid having an acid reflux or GERD by avoiding too much smoking and alcohol, and by eating less of spicy and greasy food. When taking NSAIDs, be sure you take it after meals. Lastly, avoid stress because it stimulates the release of the deadly acid.