2nd August 2016 | Author:
Acid Reflux is easily recognised as that awful burning sensation in your throat or chest, and is a symptom of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GORD). It is a common condition that is typical when you’re suffering from indigestion.
Another symptom of GORD is heartburn, which occurs when the muscle at the end of the oesophagus becomes relaxed, consequently allowing acidic content from the stomach to “back up” the oesophagus.
What are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?
The main symptom of acid reflux is a painful or burning sensation in the chest, which can sometimes move to the area where people experience heartburn. In some cases, the acid may reach the mouth or throat, which can leave a rather unpleasant or sour taste. Occasionally, where the stomach acid has risen to your throat it can also irritate your vocal cords, which can then lead to a sore throat. In a small number of cases, some people will experience breathing difficulties where the reflux has affected the respiratory tract. Excessive belching and vomiting are also very common symptoms of acid reflux.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Acid Reflux occurs more often after eating a large or high fat meal, however drinking alcohol and smoking can also exaggerate the symptoms. Please read below to see other factors that can contribute to symptoms of acid reflux:
• Hiatus Hernia
Acid reflux can occur when suffering from a Hiatus Hernia as the upper part of the stomach pokes through the diaphragm, preventing the muscles of the diaphragm from closing the end of the oesophagus. Consequently, the oesophagus is left open, allowing acid reflux to occur.
• Being Overweight
Being overweight can cause pressure inside the stomach and the whole of the abdominal cavity. In turn, this pressure can cause stomach acid to travel up, increasing the chances of it entering the oesophagus.
As with being overweight, pregnancy increases pressure on the stomach in the same way. During pregnancy, the uterus grows in size, which then puts pressure on the stomach, causing acid reflux. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also lead to the relaxation of the muscle at the end of the oesophagus.
Certain foods can prevent the oesophageal muscle from doing its job, for example chocolate, peppermint, coffee, fruit juices and alcohol.
Tobacco can slow down the rate at which the stomach empties and can also increase the amount of stomach acid produced.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Acid Reflux?
These preventative measures are essential for any healthy lifestyle!
• If you are overweight, losing weight will reduce the risk of reflux occurring and will also release pressure on your body, ensuring that you are healthier all round
• Avoid eating large meals with a high fat content and avoid eating before you go to bed
• Stop smoking
• Reduce your coffee intake
• Reduce alcohol consumption
What Are the Treatments For Acid Reflux?
In most cases, regular over the counter antacids will be effective. These include:
If symptoms are exaggerated and normal antacids are not successful, then further medication may be prescribed to reduce acid secretion. This medication is typically categorised into two groups; Proton Pump Inhibitors and Histamine H2 Antagonists. Proton Pump Inhibitors include Omperazole, Lansoprazole and Pantoprazole. Histamine H2 Antagonists include Ranitidine and Cimetidine.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe chest pain, a squeezing, tightening or crushing sensation in your chest or heartburn which seems more severe than normal.