October 18, 2011

Do I Have Acid Reflux

The pain and burning of acid reflux are hard to ignore. If you have a fiery sensation in your chest after consuming certain foods or drinks, you may have acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when the acids in your stomach that break down the foods you eat rise up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food to your stomach. Also known as heartburn or acid indigestion, acid reflux can make the simple act of digesting a meal difficult and painful. If left untreated, acid reflux may damage the tissues that line your esophagus. Seek medical attention immediately for unexplained pain in your chest or abdomen.

Why Do I Have Acid Reflux?

A ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, controls the opening between your stomach and esophagus. When you swallow foods or beverages, the LES opens to allow the food to enter your stomach. In the stomach, digestive acids break down food into small particles. When the LES closes properly, undigested food and acid remain in your stomach. When the LES opens at the wrong times or doesn’t close all the way, acidic digestive materials can rise up into your esophagus – a condition called acid reflux.

Many factors can contribute to acid reflux. During pregnancy, some women have reflux when the growing fetus pushes against the stomach, causing the LES to open at the wrong times. Being overweight can lead to acid reflux, especially if weight is concentrated around your waist. A hiatal hernia, a condition in which your upper stomach pushes above your diaphragm, is a common cause of acid reflux.

Along with physical changes that can cause heartburn, certain foods, drinks and habits often trigger acid reflux. You may notice that you have a painful, burning sensation in your chest after drinking coffee or eating chili, salsa or pizza with spicy sauce. Citrus fruits or juices, garlic, onions, fried or fatty foods, chocolate and mint are common triggers for acid reflux. Lying down immediately after you eat or wearing clothes that fit tightly around your waist can also cause acid reflux.

Is Acid Reflux Serious?

Occasional acid reflux is not uncommon; in fact, many people will experience heartburn at certain times. You may find that if you avoid specific foods that increase the acid content in your stomach, like spicy tomato sauce, black coffee or chili with raw onions, you can avoid flare-ups of acid reflux. However, if you have persistent heartburn more than twice a week, you may have a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

The frequent exposure of your esophagus to digestive acid can harm the tissues that line your esophagus. In addition to chronic acid reflux, people with GERD may develop throat pain when they swallow, hoarseness or a painful cough. Scar tissue on the esophagus can lead to narrowing of the passageway, which makes swallowing difficult. Fortunately, acid reflux can be treated with changes in your diet, modifications in your lifestyle and an effective reflux remedy. For more information on acid reflux be sure to visit Reflux Remedy at refluxremedy.com today!

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