Acid reflux is a condition where stomach contents back flow to the esophagus.
It’s also called Gastro Esophageal Reflex Disease (GERD). Experiencing this condition once in a while is normal, especially after having a heavy meal. Chronic acid reflux, on the other hand, should be treated promptly as it may cause serious problems.
Have a healthy lifestyle
What's in this article...
People who experience chronic acid reflux often have an unhealthy diet. Here are some tips to improve your diet as well as reduce your acid reflux.
Avoid foods that cause reflux, like fatty and spicy foods, chocolate, garlic, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits and vegetables with high acid content.
Exercise. This is especially recommended for those who are overweight.
Take small frequent meals instead of 3 big meals in a day.
Try not to lie down for at least 3 hours after eating. This will give time for proper digestion of food.
Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes. Constricting clothes put unnecessary pressure on your stomach. This may cause a reflux, especially if you already have a weak lower esophageal sphincter.
Eat fresh pineapples. These contain enzymes that aid in digestion. Processed pineapples have lesser enzymes than the fresh ones.
Drink herbal tea. Tea decreases the amount of acid in the stomach. Take up to 8 oz of tea in the morning and evening.
Have some grapefruit. It also decreases acidity of the stomach.
Take the right medicines
As a general safety precaution, never take any medicine without consulting your doctor or researching about the actions and side effects of the drug. You have to know what your taking.
Antacids like Tums, Maalox and Alka-seltzer, reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.
H2 blockers inhibit acid secretion and provide short- term relief. Examples of H2 blockers are Cimetidine, Ranitidine and Nizatidine
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) like Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Pantoprazole, are more effective than H2 blockers. Aside from relieving the symptoms, they also treat your esophageal lining.
Prokinetics strengthen your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and help your stomach empty faster.
Foaming agents coat the stomach with foam to prevent back flow. Bethanecol and Metoclopramide are examples of prokinetics.
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. Other symptoms are nausea, sore throat, difficulty and painful swallowing.
Here are some of the complications of untreated chronic acid reflux:
- Erosive esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus. It becomes painful, red and irritated.
- Esophageal stricture means the passageway of food becomes constricted, usually because of inflammation.
- Barrett’s esophagus is condition where cells of the esophageal lining change into cells similar to that found in the intestinal lining. This condition predisposes you to esophageal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer. Acid damages your esophageal lining. Frequent trauma on the esophagus changes the cellular structure in the area and presents a high risk for cancer.
Overweight people and pregnant women usually experience this condition. Those who have hiatal hernia and experience recurrent vomiting may also develop acid reflux
Acid reflux may not look like a very serious problem, but it has very serious complications. When you experience it more than twice a week, consult a doctor and choose the proper treatment.