When acid from the stomach seeps into the esophagus, the condition is known as acid reflux. Acid reflux is often called "heartburn" because of the painful burning sensation that is felt in the chest. The irritation to the esophagus can be dangerous, leading to erosion of the esophagus and even esophageal cancer.
Acid reflux occurs because of a laxness in the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter that are supposed to remain tight to keep food and other stomach contents in the stomach where they belong. A number of different factors can lead to acid reflux, including:
- certain medications
The symptoms of acid reflux can be quite miserable. Besides the distinctive heartburn pain, which is usually worsened by bending over, leaning back or lying down, other symptoms include:
- A feeling of food being "stuck" or lodged in the esophagus.
- Nausea after a meal.
- Coughing or wheezing.
- Problems swallowing.
- A change in the tone of the voice, such as hoarseness.
- Regurgitating food, or even vomiting.
- A chronic sore throat.
The best way to treat heartburn is to assess the risk factors in your lifestyle and make changes. Losing weight is one of the best ways to stop heartburn permanently or preventing it from developing. If you currently smoke, stop now. Enlist the help of your doctor if you require assistance with this. Avoid alcohol as much as possible. Ask your doctor if any of the medications you are taking could be leading to heartburn and if a substitution would be feasible. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor or midwife before making any changes.
Some foods are known for making acid reflux worse. The list includes:
- citrus fruits and juices
- tomatoes, both raw and in sauces
- caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda
Eat frequent small meals. Ideally, three small meals and three healthy snacks, spaced evenly throughout the day is the best way to eat to help reduce a number of medical problems, including acid reflux. Eating large meals causes the stomach to expand, which pushes against the sphincter muscles and causes them to weaken and acid to leak.
Don't eat a large meal and go straight to bed. Lying down after eating causes food and stomach acid to seep back into the esophagus. Try to wait at least three hours, if possible. Elevating your head will also help keep acid down. Use extra pillows under your head, or use blocks to slightly raise the head of the bed a couple of inches.
Some natural remedies can help ease the burn of acid reflux as it occurs. Baking soda works as an antacid. Dissolve 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water and drink. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, is available as a capsule or tablet and can be helpful. Other great remedies include ginger, bananas, chamomile tea, turmeric and aloe vera juice.
For more information about acid reflux, download the Reflux Remedy Report at www.refluxrememdy.com today.