gastroesophageal reflux disease

October 27, 2011

Persistent Heartburn

Heartburn is a common condition in which a burning sensation is felt rising from the stomach towards the throat. This burning feeling is caused by stomach acid washing back up from the stomach into the esophagus.

Normally, a valve at the end of the esophagus seals off the contents of our stomachs, but sometimes this process does not work properly, typically just following a meal. Heartburn symptoms may be mild and infrequent or, in more serious cases, last for weeks or months.

Persistent heartburn can be extremely uncomfortable and even require a doctor’s care if it becomes a chronic condition. It can occur after eating, when lying down, or when you bend forward. If you have heartburn, you will often have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth from the stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus. Other symptoms include hoarseness, cough, nausea, trouble swallowing, and chest pain. However, unlike heart attack symptoms, this type of pain is not localized to one side of the chest.

When heartburn becomes chronic in nature it can develop into a more serious condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. The condition can lead to damage to the esophagus. The injuries may include: reflux esopagitis, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma- a rare form of cancer.

An esophageal pH monitoring test is often performed to check for GERD. It is considered to be the most objective test for diagnosing the disease. It also allows for monitoring of GERD patients to show how they are responding to medical intervention.

There are a number of factors that can cause GERD. Obesity is often associated with more severe cases of GERD. The presence of a hiatal hernia also increases the risks of acquiring GERD, due to its effects on motility of the stomach. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a disorder with a GERD correlation. This syndrome increases gastric acidity through gastrin production. Another cause of GERD is visceroptosis or Glenard syndrome, where the stomach sinks into the abdominal cavity, disrupting the acid secretion and motility of the stomach.

The presence of cardiac disease is one condition that must first be eliminated as a cause of persistent heartburn. If a person has unexplained chest pain on one side of the chest, they need to see a doctor to be sure of what they are dealing with. The two conditions can have a similar set of symptoms since the esophagus and heart share the same nerve supply.

Chest pain caused by heartburn is typically described as a “burning” sensation, happens after eating, and grows worse when the person bends over or lies down. It is not uncommon in pregnant women, and can occur after consuming large amounts of food, or certain spicy foods, fatty foods, or acidic foods. It can sometimes be attributed to esophageal spasms.

Fortunately, treatments are available for persistent heartburn and the intervention of a doctor is rarely required. If you suffer from persistent heartburn, for more information and resources please visit Reflux Remedy at today.

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Heartburn and Indigestion

Heartburn and indigestion are two words often used interchangeably that describe a condition in which one feels a burning in his or her chest, esophageal region, and the oropharynx. Although these two words are used to describe the same condition, contemporary research reveals that many people complain of one condition while having another. Heartburn can be burning, tightening, or hot sensations in the chest area that worsens upon inspiration where indigestion is an acidic burning that follows the upper digestive pathway from the epiglottis to the pylorus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a major diagnosis most receive when seeking medical attention for their heartburn or indigestion. GERD is at its worst when a person eats, lies down after eating, and sleeps. Alcohol is a major contributor to the worsening of GERD. However, heartburn is not considered a form of GERD and may have other causes such as one of the many forms of heart failure or heart disease .

Indigestion has been the cause of discomfort for billions of people every year. Medical treatment for this condition consists of the purchase of over the counter remedies, books for homeopathic remedies, and visits to primary care or emergency departments for extreme cases. However, there are many ways in which one can control his or her indigestion with simple measures. For instance, food is a major contributor to causing reflux. Foods that are high in acid content, such as tomatoes, dairy products, citric acid, peppers, and anything based in vinegar all cause heartburn. By simply avoiding these foods in large quantities, one can limit his or her indigestion significantly. Overeating is another substantial cause of indigestion. When one overeats, the esophageal sphincter becomes stretched and displaced. Over the long term, the elasticity of this small muscle ring loses its ability to contract, which allows the reflux of acidic contents back up into the esophagus. By controlling your eating patterns, you allow for the proper function of the esophageal sphincter and reduction of acidic reflux.

While there are many foods that contribute to increased indigestion, there are plenty of foods that will counteract indigestion. First and foremost, water and hydration is one of the most important factors to reduce indigestion. Water and fluids allow for the proper flow of contents through the stomach and into the small and large intestine. However, it is important to note that fruit juice, because of the citric acid, should be avoided or watered down when consumed. Foods high in fiber should also be consumed on a regular basis. High fiber foods push contents through the digestive system quickly and have the ability to clear the digestive tract of unwanted debris, which leads to more efficient digestion. Apples are a very good choice of high fiber fruits that have no citric acid.

Remedies for indigestion can be found at the local pharmacy as over the counter remedies as well as prescription drugs. Antacid tablets are the most common medicine to control indigestion and are considered the first line of defense. If indigestion is uncontrolled by over the counter drugs, prescription medication such as omeprazole, which stops stomach acid production, may be used. For those suffering from heartburn, he or she would benefit from seeking more information at Reflux Remedy, today.

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September 22, 2011

Gerd and Coughing

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is diagnosed when an individual suffers symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn at least twice a week. GERD is a digestive disorder that is the result of stomach acid returning to the esophagus, consequently irritating the lining of the esophagus. Initially lifestyle change and self-care procedures are utilized in order to try and control the reflux and heartburn. However, when these symptoms occur frequently or interfere with daily activities and are not efficiently managed with home remedies it is important to make an appointment to visit a medical professional.

GERD is most likely caused by a weakened band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. Under normal circumstances, once food passes through the esophagus to the stomach, the valve at the bottom of the esophagus will close and prevent liquids and stomach acid from coming back up into the esophageal tract. When this valve does not function properly an individual will begin to experience the symptoms of GERD which will worsen over time. Complications include scar tissue or ulcers in the esophageal tract.

Beyond the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn sufferers may also experience a persistent cough and trouble with swallowing. Chronic cough is defined as a cough that has persisted eight or more weeks and its presence has yet to be explained. It is not thoroughly understood how a dry cough which may worsen at night, is related to GERD although it continues to be researched. Studies have found that by treating GERD the cough is also managed when cough is the presenting symptom by a patient. A plausible explanation of the relationship is that coughing is an effective way for the body to rid itself of irritants and excess fluids. Sufferers of GERD and concurrent chronic cough may find relief in avoiding lying down after meals, not eating meals that exacerbate the condition, and elevating the head when sleeping.

There are a variety of measures which are adequate for diagnosing GERD once the initial medical appointment has been made. These include x-rays, endoscopies, and esophageal tests that measure the amount of stomach acid regurgitating into the esophagus. To begin treatment a patient will initiate lifestyle changes such as attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding foods that worsen heartburn, and abstaining from food and liquids close to bedtime. Along with these actions a patient can also take over-the-counter antacids and medications. If through following this regimen symptoms are not alleviated, prescription medications will be recommended. As with the over-the-counter medications there are prescriptions available that reduce acid production and there are also medications available that can strengthen the valve that connects the esophagus and stomach. Additionally, these medications assist with emptying the contents of your stomach more quickly. In more severe cases surgery to repair the esophagus or the valve located between the esophagus and stomach are considered when prescriptions are not adequately treating GERD or when long term use of medicine is not desired.

GERD is a digestive disease for which there are numerous treatments available depending on the severity. Untreated GERD is uncomfortable and interferes with daily living. Find out about ways to treat GERD in order to avoid a chronic cough be sure to visit Reflux Remedy at today!

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August 2, 2011

Diet for Reflux Sufferers

Acid Reflux DietPerhaps for acid reflux symptoms, especially heartburn, the age-old adage crediting an apple a day with keeping the doctor away might ring true. For, contrary to popular opinion, acid reflux is not simply caused by too much acid in the stomach. What?s more, for frequent or severe symptoms, popping antacids or taking prescription drugs is unlikely to bring lasting relief in the form of a cure.

Heartburn occurs when stomach juices containing acid move upwards into the esophagus, the tube connecting throat and stomach. When the sphincter muscle at the tube?s base relaxes or fails to close tightly behind food passing into the stomach, digestive acids can reverse direction; moving upward, they create searing, burning pain equated with being on fire, hence the term heartburn. Frequent occurrences not only damage the esophagus, but the cumulative effects begin to sabotage everyday activities, including restful sleep. As these symptoms often inspire scurrying for pharmaceutical relief, over- the- counter and by prescription, sometimes with unwanted side-effects, examining some natural approaches makes sense.

Increasingly, results indicate that making dietary and lifestyle changes may greatly relieve symptoms, but more importantly perhaps, provide the basis for curing a grave problem. Indeed, when pronounced heartburn occurs more than twice a week, it is diagnosed as the more serious gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, for short. Thus, an apple in place of an Rx may prove important in finding solutions for various forms of acid reflux plaguing over 40% of American adults.

Diet alterations, an easy place to begin, comprise a significant natural treatment option for reducing heartburn symptoms. Not only are there certain foods to avoid, but also tried-and- true tips for when and how to eat the preferred selections. Instead of skipping meals, then wolfing down super-sized ones, 4 or 5 evenly-spaced small meals seem more suited to preventing an overfilled stomach. Big meals, conversely, contribute to increased stomach volume and pressure that may cause acidic contents to splash upwards towards the esophagus. When big meals are unavoidable, nevertheless, putting space between them and bedtime is best.

Most importantly, a high-fiber diet should be the mainstay of reflux sufferers. With whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, primarily unprocessed plant-foods, the focus of their eating regimes, sufferers are 20% less likely to experience acid reflux symptoms, regardless of body weight. That is certainly one promising reason to eat more apples.

On the other hand, high-fat dairy products and meats like ice cream and hamburgers, extremely irritating and acid forming, should be avoided. Choose instead such items as turkey, skim-milk, low-fat yogurt and cheese. Likewise, greasy, peppery, or fried concoctions which weaken the esophageal sphincter muscle and permit the upward movement of stomach acids are unworthy choices. Additional muscle-weakening foods from which to abstain include chocolate, peppermint, caffeine, alcohol. In terms of beverages, drinking water at meal?s end dilutes and washes down any wayward stomach acids. Conversely, alcoholic drinks, coffee of all sorts, caffeinated tea, and colas may incite heartburn because of their tendency to increase stomach acid content; and juices in the tomato or citrus families can irritate an already damaged esophagus. Sodas, likewise, are poor choices; they bloat the abdomen, creating undue stomach pressure causing acids to splash upwards, the opposite direction desired.

Finally, while dietary changes often reduce the problem, they won’t cure acid reflux for good. That is where some other proven natural methods, not expensive symptom-masking drugs, might be worth a try. Undoubtedly, though, a better diet is integral to being in control of acid reflux, providing a firm foundation upon which to build its cure. After all, while alleviating symptoms is desirable, a temporary or ‘quick fix’ does not equal a lasting remedy. For more diet suggestions for acid reflux sufferers visit Reflux Remedy at today!

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