Acid reflux is more common than you think. In some people, the symptoms can range from unnoticeable signs to painful heartburn.
Causes and Symptoms
Acid reflux is the backing up of the stomach acids up into the esophagus and throat. Acid reflux has many causes. This includes changes in diet or lifestyle, sudden weight gain, pregnancy, side effect of medications, food allergy or sensitivity, hiatal hernia, smoking, magnesium deficiency, and other medical conditions. This doesn’t mean that you have too much acid. It’s just that there might be a leak between the stomach and esophagus.
You might have acid reflux if you experience the following symptoms:
1. Chest pain. You will feel uncomfortable when the acid from your stomach goes back up the esophagus. The pain usually begins after a meal. The intensity of the pain can vary. It can sometimes worsen when you lie down. If you have other pre-existing conditions, however, be careful not to mistake chest pain with acid reflux. It could also be sign of a heart attack.
2. Bitter Taste. You might be able to taste the bitter acids in your mouth. The acid could also irritate the throat and cause choking, coughing, sore throat and even asthma. Your voice will also sound hoarse.
3. Other Symptoms. Acid reflux can also cause nausea especially after meals, trouble swallowing, salivation, wheezing, bad breath and dry mouth, hiccups, bloating, and flatulence and burping.
GERD and Acid Reflux
Sometimes you will encounter these two names when you do your research. What is the difference between GERD and acid reflux? GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux diseases, refers to the condition that triggers recurring acid reflux. Acid reflux is the term that refers to the backing up of the stomach acid. In short, acid reflux is a symptom of GERD.
If you don’t have GERD but you have several episodes of untreated acid reflux, it can progress to the former. The symptoms are the same, but with GERD there is a chance that other medical conditions are also present. It can lead to a complication called Barrett’s esophagus and even cancer.
Treatment of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can cause severe complications if not treated. One way to avoid recurring episodes is to make changes in your diet. Avoid over-eating and consumption of food that can cause acid reflux. Avoid the following food: alcohol, spicy food, processed food, fried food, carbonated and energy drinks, vegetable oils, and artificial sweeteners.
The symptoms can be treated with antacids, H-2-receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors but you need to consult your doctor if it happens too often. Reliance on over-the-counter medicine for too long can cause vitamin deficiencies. The acid reflux might also be telling you that you have another medical condition like irritable bowel syndrome, anemia, depression, and others.
If you continue to have acid reflux, you have to set an appointment with your doctor to check if you have GERD.