What is Acid Reflux?
At the entrance to your stomach, there is a ring-shaped muscle valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Typically, the LES closes after the food passes, If the LES is not completely closed, the acid produced by the stomach can penetrate the esophagus, This can cause heartburn. If symptoms of gastric acid reflux occur more than twice a week, you have acid reflux disease, It is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What Causes Acid Reflux?
This happens when the upper abdomen and LES move above the diaphragm. The muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest Normally, the diaphragm, holds the stomach acid in the abdomen. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can penetrate the esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease. Other common factors for acid reflux disease include:
- Eating great meals and lie down later
- Eating a heavy meal and lie on your back or bend
- Eating snacks before bed
- Eating specific foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy and fatty foods
- Drinking some drinks such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee or tea
- Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, sedatives or blood pressure medications
What are the symptoms of Acid Reflux disease?
Common symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Heartburn: Pain or discomfort that may come from the abdomen to the chest or even the throat.
- Regurgitation: A bitter acid that returns to the throat or mouth.
- Dysphagia: Esophagus narrowing that makes you feel that food is stuck in your throat.
- Blood or black stool Or blood vomiting
- Weight loss without a cause
- Cold, dry cough, choking, or chronic sore throat
How is gastric acid reflux disease diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux once or twice a day, or if your medication has not been sufficiently treated, see your doctor.
Symptoms such as heartburn are a key diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease, especially if you have changed your lifestyle. Antacids or acid-blocking medications can reduce symptoms. If these steps do not help you or if you have frequent or severe symptoms, your doctor may perform tests to confirm the diagnosis and to diagnose other problems.
You may have one or more tests like this:
- Barium swallow test Can check for ulcers or narrowing of the esophagus.
- Before putting on an X-ray machine, drink a substance for better details.
- PH monitoring, It can check your esophageal acid.
- Your doctor will put a device in your esophagus for 1 to 2 days to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus.
- Endoscopy can also check your esophagus or stomach problems, The test involves placing a long, flexible, camera tube inside the throat. During endoscopy, body tissues are sampled to detect infection or abnormalities under a microscope.
Can acid reflux disease be treated with nutrition and lifestyle changes?
One of the most effective ways to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid food and drink, which can cause symptoms. Other things you can do are:
- Eat fewer meals throughout the day.
- Quit Smoking.
- Place a pillow under your head, at least 4 inches to 6 inches high.
- Do not eat at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
- Do not use tight clothing and tight belts.
- If you are overweight or obese, take steps to lose weight.
Treatment of gastric acid reflux with surgery
If medications do not eliminate the symptoms of acid reflux disease and cause severe symptoms in your life, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are two types of surgical treatment used to relieve symptoms if daily medication is not effective.
The most common type of surgery involves placing a ring called LINX at the esophagus end, a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The ring consists of magnetic titanium beads and is joined by a titanium wire. This ring helps the stomach valve and prevents reflex. According to the study, patients no longer need medication with this method or reduce their use. If you are allergic to metal, do not use this method. After inserting this ring, you should never use an MRI device.
Another surgical method called fundoplication can help prevent acid reflux. In this method, An artificial valve is created above your stomach. This involves placing the upper part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it, prevent acid reflux, and repair the hiatal hernia. Surgeons do this through an open incision in the abdomen or chest, or with a light tube through a small incision in the abdomen. These methods are only used as a last resort for treating acid reflux disease if the medicine is not effective.
Natural remedies for acid reflux and heartburn:
- baking soda
Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Mix it well and drink the whole mixture. You can repeat this method if needed, But you should not use more than seven teaspoons in a 24-hour period. Also, do not use this method for more than a week, Because it is high in salt and can cause side effects such as swelling or nausea.
2. Aloe Vera juice
Drink half a cup of aloe vera juice before meals. Aloe vera can act as a laxative, if you want to get a good fit, use a brand that has laxative.
3. Chew gum
Chew a sugar-free gum for 30 minutes to relieve heartburn.
4. Raise your head (don’t lie down)
Heartburn worsens during the night due to lying down at night. Gravity works against you, It leads the contents digested in the stomach with acid into the esophagus. When sleeping, bring your head up to 6 inches, place a book, brick or block under your feet. Do not lie down for 3-4 hours after eating because the stomach is pressurized.
5. How, why, and when
How to eat: Don’t eat big pieces, eat small pieces slowly, let the stomach digest food.
What you eat: Be aware that certain foods cause heartburn, usually high-acid foods such as tomatoes and citrus or spicy foods. So you better not use them.
When to eat: Don’t eat anything 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
6. Drink ginger root tea
It can help reduce some stomach problems, including nausea and acid reflux. Eating a cup of fresh tea about 20 minutes before eating, can help calm your belly.
7. Eat a banana or apple:
Bananas contain natural antacids, which can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try the simplest home remedies for heartburn, try bananas daily. Another option is to try apples. Eat a few hours before bedtime to eliminate or prevent discomfort.