Experiencing acid reflux once in a while is not unusual. However, some can cause severe burning discomfort, bloating, and belching every food intake.
About 11.6 % of the Australian population suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic acid reflux condition as per the doctor’s description.
For GERD symptoms, consider changing diet and lifestyle modifications and be open to new ways to relieve the condition.
This article will look at acid reflux definition and remedies that may help with the symptoms.
What is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is when the stomach acid frequently flows into the esophagus, irritating the lining tissues. Frequent and constant reflux can eventually lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and its other signs and symptoms.
Acid reflux can become worse due to several factors. These include lifestyle, medication, diet (weight gain), pregnancy, and other medical conditions.
Signs and Symptoms
People with acid reflux often describe the condition as having frequent burning discomfort in the chest.
The discomfort may stay and move within the throat and neck. Some may also experience having a bitter or sour taste in the mouth.
The symptoms may last for several hours and may worsen after food intake. Occasional acid reflux is considered normal, but frequent attacks of more than two times per week may require treatment.
6 Ways to Manage Acid Reflux
If left without treatment, acid reflux can bring intense discomfort.
The good news is that there are several medications and lifestyle changes one can make to minimize the occurrence of acid reflux. These include the following options:
Over the Counter Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for acid reflux can help lessen the acidity building upon the stomach.
It mostly comes in liquid or tablet formulations called antacids, providing immediate and short-term relief for the symptoms.
Common OTC treatments for acid reflux are antacids, H2 Receptor Blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.
The first step in reducing symptoms is to watch the food choices and limit those who can set reflux.
The trigger food may differ from each person, but these often include alcohol (particularly red wine), chocolate, coffee, chilly powder and pepper, fried foods, processed snacks, and carbonated beverages.
The doctor may advise eliminating some or all the trigger foods. They may also suggest keeping a food diary to track which food often result in GERD Symptoms.
Wait Before Going to Bed
Avoid lying down too soon after a meal as these often cause heartburns.
Instead of going to bed after eating, do it advance by consuming food for at least three to four hours before bedtime.
Nicotine smoking can increase the production of stomach acid due to the increased amount of saliva from doing this unhealthy vice.
It also reduces the function of the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, which keeps the acid and other stomach content from flowing into the esophagus and its lining tissues.
Maintain a healthy weight
Try to reduce excess weight around the midsection. Losing weight in the said area can ease the pressure on the stomach.
While stress is not usually the root cause of heartburn or reflux, it can certainly trigger the symptoms in many different ways.
Also, extreme life and physical stress can lead to heart-related problems.
It is best to incorporate stress management techniques to avoid frequent attacks. Practice meditation and insert some progressive muscle relaxation exercises into the daily routine.
When to Seek Professional Help
Consult a doctor for heartburns that occur two or more times a week with non-improving symptoms. See a gastroenterologist or a specialist in the digestive system.
The gastroenterologist can then perform several tests to measure stomach acidity and see if there are damages to the esophagus brought by acid reflux. They can also find the underlying cause of the illness and discuss available treatment options.
GERD is often treatable through medication and lifestyle changes. However, persistent symptoms should receive a proper evaluation from a doctor.
Learn First Aid for Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Chronic acid reflux is an ongoing condition that may require first aid intervention and over the counter treatment.
Enrol in a first aid course to learn more about this disease and how to get rid of its symptoms.