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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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February 21, 2011

Treatment for Reflux

Reflux happens when the lower esophageal sphincter does not do its job well. This muscle is supposed to block stomach acid from going where it does not belong, in the esophagus. The LES should allow food to leave the esophagus by contracting to open, and then contract to close tightly right after. Acid in your esophagus can be damaging. The esophagus will become inflamed and irritated. Constant reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and even cancer of the esophagus.

Heartburn is a likely symptom that you will have if you have reflux. Dysphaia, or difficulty swallowing, will make eating foods unpleasant because of the feeling that food is stuck in your throat. Another symptom of reflux is regurgitation. This happens when food and acid is brought up to the mouth from the stomach, giving your mouth a nasty sour taste. Other symptoms like nausea and chest pain can occur but are less common.

If you have reflux there are several steps you can take to treat this disease. Some holistic remedies can discourage reflux from occurring or treat symptoms that have already been experienced. Natural remedies are the safest line of defense against reflux, GERD, and many other physical ailments.

  • Aloe has many healing properties. When juiced and consumed, liquid aloe can reduce reflux symptoms. Aloe juice is a neutralizing force in the stomach and decreases irritation in the esophagus.
  • Water can neutralize stomach acid too. Water dilutes gastric acid and makes it less acidic and corrosive. Drinking water before and after a meal is a great way to minimize the acidity of acid produced to digest that specific meal.
  • Papaya enzymes are great for digestion. These enzymes assist the body with digesting foods naturally, therefore telling the body that a smaller amount of gastric acid should be generated to digest that meal.
  • Ginger has multiple purposes and is a great remedy for reflux. Drink ginger tea or eat ginger root to calm your stomach when you have dysphagia or nausea. A settled stomach will reduce your discomfort.
  • Eat meals several hours before you plan to go to sleep. Eating before bed is a bad idea. When you put food in your mouth and chew, the body begins to make gastric acid in preparation for digestion. Eating, then lying down for bed encourages the newly produced acid to slip by the loosened LES.
  • Try eating smaller meals. Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five smaller meals. Large amounts of food put stress on the stomach and increases stomach acid production. The presence of a lot of stomach acid can contribute to reflux.
  • Eat foods that are right for you. Your body may react negatively to certain foods and cause acid to reflux. The most common food triggers for reflux are caffeine, garlic and onion. Reducing the amount of alcohol you digest can reduce reflux too.

These are just a few of the ways that you can treat reflux. For more information on these and other treatments and remedies, visit

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