major symptom

May 5, 2011

Acid Reflux Disease Information

Causes of Acid Reflux

There are many different factors that can contribute to the development of acid reflux disease. If you have this disease, it was probably caused by a combination of issues surrounding your digestive system. Digestion is one of the most important processes of the body. Whenever you eat food, the process begins. Food that is swallowed goes down your esophagus, past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and into the stomach. The LES opens and closes to allow food to enter the stomach. If you have a LES that is weak, you may develop acid reflux. A weakened or dysfunctional LES will not close normally. If it remains open, this can permit stomach or gastric acids to go up the esophagus. Other causes of acid reflux disease include pregnancy, hiatal hernia, obesity, diet, behaviors and certain medications like diabetes. Respiratory diseases can also contribute to acid reflux.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Heartburn is the major symptom of acid reflux. When stomach acid reaches the esophagus and throat, this causes irritation. Stomach acid is used to break down foods for the extraction of nutrients. This acid is too corrosive for other parts of the body. When stomach acid travels to other areas, this can cause you to feel a painful, burning sensation in your chest area.

Dysphagia is another symptom of acid reflux. This is when you have the feeling that food is stuck in your throat. You may also have difficulty with swallowing.

Regurgitation is also a sign of acid reflux. Food can also escape from the stomach through the LES and into the esophagus, causing discomfort. People with acid reflux disease may feel nauseated and uncomfortable. Nausea is related to another symptom which is excessive burping and vomiting. Wet burps also allow gastric acid to reach the esophagus and throat.

Bloating is yet another symptom. Bloating will cause you to feel pain and fullness in your abdomen. Bloating can trigger chest pain and hiccups as well.

Treatment for Acid Reflux

There are several treatment options for acid reflux. Some treatments are preventative while others offer a solution for acid reflux that is already present. These measures can help to prevent you from developing acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The easiest ways to combat acid reflux is to have lifestyle changes. You should try not to eat meals right before you go to bed because this increases gastric acid production at a time when your body will be horizontal. In this position, the acid can easily escape through a weak LES and get into the esophagus. Eating smaller meals is best for preventing acid reflux. Larger meals encourage acid production. You should also be careful about the kinds of food you eat. Fattening foods are not ideal. Stay away from caffeine, garlic, onions and alcohol. Aloe juice, water, ginger and papaya enzymes have been known to neutralize stomach acid, promote digestion and reduce the discomfort caused by acid reflux disease.

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