Gastroesophageal reflux is also known as acid reflux or GERD. It is a chronic digestive disorder. It is a condition where the contents of the stomach come back into the esophagus and mouth. The reflux of the Acidic contents results in bothersome symptoms.
Symptoms of acid reflux are as follows:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty and pain during swallowing
- Pain in upper abdomen
- A sore throat
- The sensation of a lump in the throat
- Choking sensation
- Difficulty in sleeping due to above symptoms
- Chronic sinusitis
If acid reflux gets complicated it results into following symptoms:
- Hoarseness of voice
- Ulcers in mouth
- Strictures in the esophagus
- Barrets esophagus- A serious complication of GERD where tissues lining the esophagus changes into the tissues that resemble the lining the stomach. It increases the risk of esophagus adenocarcinoma
- Inflammation of throat and larynx
- Lung infection due to inhalation of contents
- Infection and pain in ear
Cause of acid reflux:
LES or the Lower esophageal sphincter is a muscular ring present between the stomach and the esophagus. Normally when we eat something the food passes through the mouth into the esophagus. LES opens to let the food enter the stomach. After that LES closes to prevent the stomach juices, acids and food’s content from flowing back. In the case of GERD, LES becomes weak and its inefficient closing leads to reflux of acid contents. This backwash causes acid reflux by irritating the esophagus lining.
Risk factors of acid reflux:
- Habit of Overeating
- A hiatus hernia- It is the condition where upper stomach moves into the chest through the diaphragm which is a muscle that separates the chest and abdomen. A few causes of a hiatus hernia are Coughing, carrying heavy weights, straining or vomiting.
- Chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer
- Dry mouth
- Chronic constipation
- Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
- Scleroderma- A connective tissue disorder
- Spicy and fatty foods
In most of the cases of acid reflux, changes in lifestyle and diet are enough to relieve the symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe medicines such as:
- Antacids- They provide short-term relief to the symptoms of GERD.
- Histamine antagonists- They decrease the production of stomach acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors- They are stronger and effective that Histamine antagonists.
*Few cases may also require surgery.
In the case of pain in swallowing, pain in the chest, vomiting of blood, choking and unexplained loss of weight do consult your physician.
Acid reflux may be a life long suffering.
Also see- http://healthliving.in/home-remedies-to…ieve-acid-reflux/
Following are the preventive measures that may prevent GERD or acid reflux:
- Avoid spicily and fatty foods, chocolates, peppermint, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Avoid smoking.
- Reduce weight if you are obese.
- Exercise daily for 45 minutes.
- Do not lie down immediately after eating.
- Do not exercise immediately after eating.
- Eat small meals at small intervals.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Elevating the head of the bed relieves acid reflux.
- Refrain yourself from wearing tight clothes.
- Maintain oral hygiene.
- Avoid eating late and large meals.