What Is Acid Reflux
What is Acid Reflux and Why do I Have It?
Acid reflux is also known as gastoesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This condition occurs when heartburn becomes a frequent occurrence, happening two or more times a week.
Regular heartburn like this can become uncomfortable enough to get in the way of daily activities and even cause damage to the delicate lining of the esophagus.
For these reasons, most people who suffer from frequent bouts of heartburn will ask their doctor what acid reflux is and what they can do to treat it.
The Heartburn Process
When we eat, the food passes from our mouth and throat, into our esophagus. This long tube will send the food down to the stomach, where it is broken down by the digestive acids in this organ to be absorbed into the body as nutrients or eliminated from the body as waste.
To keep stomach acid where it belongs, there is a circular ring at the base of the esophagus known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. This LES contracts after food passes through so that it cannot return to the esophagus.
However, when the LES cannot close properly, food particles and stomach acids can indeed come back up.
The esophageal lining is not designed to withstand the harsh acid from the stomach, which is why the painful burning results. This is what acid reflux is, and the longer it goes unchecked, the greater the likelihood that actual damage to that lining can occur.
This damage can result in a condition known as Barrett's esophagus and increase the risk of esophageal cancer. While both of these conditions are relatively rare, it is still a good idea to understand what acid reflux is and how to treat it most effectively to avoid the risk completely.
Understanding Heartburn Triggers
The first step in understanding what acid reflux is will be to know why it occurs in the first place. Heartburn triggers can come in many shapes and sizes; from the foods we eat to the lifestyle choices we make. Common culprits include tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, garlic and onions.
Fried and fatty foods can also cause heartburn. Smoking, eating large meals and eating too close to bed are other potential triggers. For some, pinpointing the triggers and avoiding them are enough to keep acid reflux in check. For others, medication may be necessary to control the symptoms and the potential for damage.
There are many over the counter medications that will treat acid reflux, including H-receptor-blockers like Tagamet and Pepcid, and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec.
While different medicines work in different ways, the basic idea is to alter the stomach acid so it cannot back up the digestive tract and cause damage.
If you are suffering from frequent heartburn, it would be wise to talk to your doctor to find out what acid reflux is and how it can be treated.
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... gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is an occurrence where stomach acids or stomach contents rise up and back out into the esophagus causing heartburn symptoms in an individual. There are actually many different kinds of treatments for this condition, some natural and other medical. One of the said natural ...
... both these ingredients to avoid the problem completely. Solving Acid Reflux Problems Occasional acid reflux or heartburn is not harmful or worrisome; as we age we are more likely to experience this. Cause for concern however is continued heartburn on a regular basis. This is indicative of an unhealthy ...
... familiar burning in the chest that may be accompanied by an acidic taste in the mouth. For most, we can pop an antacid or two and be done with it. However, other people will find that heartburn is occurring much more frequently perhaps twice a week or more. When heartburn becomes a regular problem, it ...
... serious disorder that requires medical attention. Delaying treatment can lead to permanent damage of the esophagus, so patients suffering from acid reflux should contact a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to changing problem behaviors that may be causing acid reflux and cutting out the food and ...
... irritation in the linings of your esophagus, but they do not stop the fluids inside your stomach from regurgitating. Apart from this, the pills, being drugs themselves, has side effects; and to name the few are dry mouth, headache, and further growth of bacteria in the stomach since it lessens the acidity ...
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