Do you frequently suffer from heartburn – that burning sensation that spreads from the chest to the throat especially after eating or when lying down? If you do, then you are experiencing acid reflux. But what is acid reflux?
Acid reflux means the backflow of stomach acids to the esophagus. As the acid reaches the esophagus, it creates the symptoms of heartburn – the burning sensation that starts from the upper stomach and travels to the throat and gives a sour taste in the mouth.
Everyone experiences acid reflux and heartburn from time to time. This usually happens when a person eats a large meal or if he lies down soon after eating. Frequent acid reflux could already mean that the person is suffering from acid reflux disease which could lead to other problems. What is acid reflux disease?
Acid reflux disease is also called gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD occurs when the stomach acids are getting into the esophagus consistently that damage to the esophagus is already being done. This condition is a lot more serious than the occasional heartburn.
What Is Acid Reflux – Know the Symptoms
Although heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, there are other signs that indicate this condition which are:
- Regurgitation – the sensation of acid and food backing up into your throat or mouth. This often produces sour or bitter taste. Sometimes, you may even vomit some contents of your stomach.
- Dyspepsia – stomach discomfort that is accompanied by burping, bloating, nausea after eating and upper abdominal pain. Some people with dyspepsia don’t necessarily suffer from acid reflux though.
What Is Acid Reflux – Its Prevention and Treatments
Although a lot of people ask ‘what is acid reflux?’, they have probably experienced heartburn at some time, which is basically the result of acid reflux. Acid reflux can be prevented if you know what foods to avoid and which habits to stop.
There is a long list of foods that potentially cause heartburn however it does not mean that you should avoid all these. The foods that trigger heartburn in people vary and your food triggers may not be similar to another person’s. The following are some of the foods known to cause acid reflux:
- High acid vegetables i.e. raw onions and tomatoes
- caffeinated beverages i.e. coffee, tea
- chili peppers
- foods high in fats i.e. high fat meats, high fat dairy products, fried foods
- acidic fruits or citrus fruits i.e. oranges, lemons and grapefruits
- Alcoholic beverages
- spear mints, peppermint
Finding out the foods that trigger your acid reflux is enough to prevent this problem. It will help if you keep a food journal where you take note of the foods you take and their effects on your digestion.
Obesity and other health issues like hiatal hernia are also seen as causes of acid reflux disease. If you are overweight, losing some weight can ease the reflux problem. If your weight is not a problem but you still suffer from frequent heartburn, you may need to consult a physician for some tests.
For existing acid reflux disease, typical medications involve antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. These medications are not recommended for long term use though and lifestyle changes are often encouraged. Surgery is not common solution for acid reflux disease.
For more in-depth information on ‘what is acid reflux?’, you may speak with your doctor and he’ll be able to discuss the condition further and provide you insights on things like natural remedies, complications, etc.