Acid reflux is actually more common than many people know. Most people are familiar with the burning sensation of heartburn which often comes after eating a large meal. This occurs as a result of acid from the stomach entering the esophagus and irritating it. Sometimes these symptoms can be more severe and acid can be regurgitated, usually in tiny amounts, up to the throat and the mouth. You’ll know if this is happening to you as you’ll feel a slow-burning, fiery pain in your throat and your gullet and your breath with smell quite unpleasant. These two symptoms come about due to the lower esophageal sphincter not closing properly.
Now that you know what it is, it would be useful to find out why this is happening to you. One of the most common reasons it starts is due to obesity – the lower esophageal sphincter is opened involuntarily as a result of pressure in the abdomen caused by layers of fatty tissue pushing down on it. If you are fat, youhave a good chance of stopping your acid reflux problems by losing weight and getting your body into a healthy shape again.
There are other factors which are known to provoke and make the problem worse, which you should avoid. These include smoking, consuming alcohol, coffee, orange juice, tomatoes, chocolate, peppermint and some fatty foods. Regulating your diet will be necessary if you want to be pain-free in the future.
Another cause of acid reflux is pregnancy. As this is only temporary, and the health of the developing baby is paramount, it’s suggested that you just treat the symptoms of acid reflux with antacids and let your body recover naturally after childbirth. Always check with your physician whether certain medications are suitable to be taken in your condition.
You will need to keep strict control over your diet and look out for any foods which seem to provoke reflux on their own. You can do this by keeping a food diary – writing what you ate and how you felt afterwards. Some people find spicy and sour foods can provoke reflux, whereas the food diaries of others show no link. If it causes pain, find a way to eliminate it from your diet and replace the nutritional values with something else which doesn’t cause pain.
You might find that acid reflux tends to strike at night and in the mornings. If this is the case, then try to sleep with your neck and head slightly elevated, through the use of extra pillows. This will not solve the fundamental problem, but it will make it more difficult for acid and digestive fluids to travel as far up the esophagus as the throat and the mouth.
Doing exercise and working out is important for all of us, but especially for those whose obesity is causing them to suffer from acid reflux. Avoid regimes which put excess stress on the abdominal muscles. Taking up something like crosswalking, which you can do at home for thirty minutes to an hour each day would be a very wise decision.
If your symptoms don’t get better after having made such lifestyle changes, it may become necessary to operate. This may also be the case if you persist with unhealthy lifestyle choices as acid reflux can damage the esophagus so much that it becomes difficult to swallow. It can lead to conditions which, if left untreated, can provoke both cancer of the esophagus and cancer of the stomach.
Surgery may typically involve removal of a hiatus hernia (which may be responsible for the malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter) and then strengthening of the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus.
Don’t allow acid reflux symptoms to continue untreated as they can have a major effect on your wellbeing, leading to fatigue, nausea and vomiting, headaches and general malaise. Not only can it affect your physical health, but also your mental health, causing you to run into problems at work and in your relationships. Taking steps to address it and rectify it now will mean the difference between you feeling great or terrible in the long run. It may not be an emergency right now, but it can indicate a long and slow demise.