What Is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition where acid from your stomach ends up flowing back up into your esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach and throat. Many people experience an occasional bout of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a disorder where people experience some form of acid reflux at least once or twice per week.
GERD can develop in people of all ages. The following factors and conditions can also increase your chances of experiencing some form of acid reflux, including GERD:
- Those who may be carrying extra weight
- People who smoke regularly or people frequently exposed to second-hand smoke
- People taking medications that cause acid reflux as a side effect
- Individuals with a connective tissue disorder
- People who experience delays in emptying their stomach
What Can I Do To Prevent Indigestion
There are many things you can do to try to prevent indigestion.
Making changes in your diet and eating habits can help. These include:
- Eating several small, low-fat meals each day instead of 3 large meals
- Eating slowly and giving yourself enough time for meals
- Limiting spicy, fatty, greasy, or high-fiber foods
- Chewing your food well
- Limiting or not having any coffee, soda, or alcohol
Avoid medicines that hurt your stomach. These include aspirin and over-the-counter pain and fever medicines . If you do take them, do so after you eat.
Other lifestyle changes that may keep indigestion from happening include:
- Quitting smoking
- Finding ways to lower your emotional and physical stress, such as meditation or yoga
- Exercising before a meal or waiting at least 1 hour after eating
Drugs That Are Most Likely To Cause Dyspepsia
Failure of symptoms to resolve or substantially improve after appropriate treatment
Eradicating H pylori infection cures functional dyspepsia in only a minority of cases. A meta-analysis has suggested a small therapeutic gain over 12 months follow up . Whether sucralfate or bismuth is better than placebo in treating functional dyspepsia is unclear, but it is unlikely misoprostol may actually aggravate symptoms and cause diarrhoea in some patients.
Long term management
Functional dyspepsia is generally a relapsing and remitting condition. Treatment should not be prolonged, and frequent drug holidays should be prescribed. In patients with symptoms that are difficult to control a trial of an antispasmodic or antidepressant may be useful, but specialist referral to confirm the diagnosis and exclude rare causes of dyspepsia should first be considered. Some patients will benefit from behavioural therapy or psychotherapy.
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What Can You Do
First thing to do if you have bloating, acid reflux, constipation and you tried everything is to have your thyroid function checked. Your GP can do that for you but they only check for two markers: TSH and free T4. I ask clients with these symptoms to do a more comprehensive thyroid test they can do at home.
A simple thing you can do NOW is to chew your food! When we break our food down by chewing more, we make it easier to digest and absorb nutrients and this increases stomach acid to help prevent an overgrowth of bacteria or fungi.
As you might have guessed this thyroid and gut conundrum is not always easily fixed with a probiotic, some digestive enzymes or with thyroid medication. It requires a more holistic look at your health. Thats the work I love to do!
If you want to finally address your bloating, acid reflux and constpation, lets talk.
I offer a free 30 minute are-we-right-for-each-other call and you can book yourself in here.
What Causes Too Much Stomach Acid
Most people who experience excessive stomach acid symptoms complain about a burning sensation from the start. Well look at excess stomach acid symptoms in detail, but first, lets consider what causes excessive stomach acid.
Acid can build up in the stomach due to diet, excessive alcohol consumption, abnormally high acid production, or it can simply be hereditary. When excess stomach acid goes untreated, it can lead to ulcers. Diet plays a big role in controlling stomach acid too. There are certain foods that cause more acid and others that are better tolerated. Heres a look at what causes excess stomach acid, starting with food.
In most cases, symptoms of excess stomach acid can be attributed to diet. It can be helpful for people to keep a food journal, which enables them to pinpoint what food or foods are bothersome. Once certain culprits are identified, it is simply a matter of eliminating those foods from the diet to find relief.
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Indigestion: When Is It Functional
Patients often complain of indigestion, but what do they mean? Indigestion is an old English word that means lack of adequate digestion, but patients and doctors interpret this in different ways. Many patients mean heartburn or acid regurgitation, the classic symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Some describe belching, abdominal rumblings, or even bad breath as indigestion. Others mean pain localised to the epigastrium or a non-painful discomfort in the upper abdomen which may be described as fullness, bloating, or an inability to finish a normal meal . Dyspepsia is best restricted to mean pain or discomfort centred in the upper abdomen.
Lactose Intolerance Rather Than Ibs
If trigger foods include dairy products such as milk, cheese, or ice cream, the problem may be lactose intolerance, not IBS. People who have cramping or bloating after only eating dairy products should stop eating these foods for a period of two weeks to see if symptoms subside. If symptoms subside after avoiding dairy, speak with your doctor about the possibility of lactose intolerance. If other non-lactose foods in addition to dairy aggravate your symptoms, you are more likely to have IBS.
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Can Acid Reflux Cause Nerve Pain
Acid reflux symptoms can be typical or atypical in nature. Tingling limbs and nerve pain are considered rare and atypical acid reflux symptoms.
Dr. Mark Babyatsky, a former department chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, explained that inflammation from acid reflux can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia.
As a result, the diaphragm can become inflamed, affecting the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve connecting the neck, lung, heart, and diaphragm. In this scenario, a patient can feel referred pain in the limbs, specifically the arms and shoulders.
Alternatively, nerve-related issues may be caused by pre-existing neuropathic conditions, leading to acid reflux. An example of this is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy characterized by slow digestion. This leads to bloating, heartburn, and vomiting of undigested food.
If youre experiencing acid reflux symptoms with nerve pain, theres a high chance that your nerve pain is not reflux-related, especially if you are experiencing temporary reflux. Get in touch with a medical professional to find a separate diagnosis concerning your nerve pain.
Possible Side Effects Of Heartburn Medicine
As with all medications, there is always the risk of some side effects. This, of course, includes heartburn and indigestion medicine.
Some side effects people report when taking antacid and acid blocker medications for heartburn and GERD include:
Before starting any new medication, its always important to consult with your doctor or gastroenterologist and disclose any other medicines you are currently taking, as there is always the risk that some medications have negative interactions when taken together.
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
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Why Else Do Vitamins Cause Nausea
If youre taking another type of supplement that isnt vitamin C or iron and find that youre feeling sick afterwards, you might need to take a look at the dosage on the product packaging you could be taking too much.
The NHS has an online guide explaining how many milligrams of each vitamin you should take per day exceeding this could cause problems. You shouldnt take more 1,000mg per day of vitamin C, for example, as this can cause stomach pain and diarrhoea. Labels on vitamin C bottles may caution this, too.
If youre taking more than one supplement at the same time, check if the ingredients overlap at all you might be doubling up on something, adds Phil Day, superintendent pharmacist for Pharmacy2U. This could make you feel bad, especially if this has been going on for a long time.
This is more likely to be a problem with fat soluble vitamins because these cant be easily eliminated from the body, unlike water soluble vitamins that the body can remove when you go for a wee.
Another possible cause for your nausea is that the supplement is clashing with a prescribed medicine youre taking. This is why its always important to speak to a GP or pharmacist before taking new vitamins.
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Initial Management Of Functional Dyspepsia
Make a positive clinical diagnosis
Minimise investigations and don’t repeat tests without good reason
Determine the patient’s agenda and identify psychosocial stressors
Find out why the patient has presented now
Provide education and reassurance
Smoking and alcohol do not seem to be important in functional dyspepsia, but coffee ingestion has been linked to exacerbation of symptoms. Some patients with functional dyspepsia suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression, but whether this is cause or effect remains unclear.
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What Medicines Help Gerd
One kind of medicine that helps includes cimetidine , ranitidine , famotidine and nizatidine . You take this medicine two times a day.
Proton pump inhibitors also help they include omeprazole and lansoprazole . You take them once a day.
Another medicine that helps is sucralfate . You take it four times a day.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. People with heartburn feel a burning sensation inside their chest. Heartburn often occurs after consuming a meal. The feeling of heartburn can get more intense during the night.
The location of heartburn discomfort can cause some people to believe they might be having a heart attack. If symptoms of heartburn fail to clear up after taking medication, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Ten common symptoms that people with GERD or other forms of acid reflux experience include:
- Problems swallowing
- The feeling of a lump in your throat
- Regurgitating food or sour liquids
- The onset of or worsening of asthma
Youre Not Using The Right Delivery System
It could simply be the way the vitamin is deliveredi.e. is it a chewable, a gummy, or a coated capsule? Coatings keep the vitamin from dissolving as fast, which can cause irritation in your stomach. If you take a coated vitamin and are still feeling nauseous with food, check with your doctor to see if theres a different formula you can take, suggests Sonpal. If coated capsules are a problem for you, chewables or gummies could be a good alternative.
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What Is The Quickest Heartburn Remedy
Over-the-counter antacids, like Tums, Mylanta, or Rolaids, which work by neutralizing stomach acid, are a good option for fast, short-term relief of mild heartburn. However, antacids, along with other over-the-counter medications like H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors , are not meant to be used for long-term support.
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How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
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Uncommon Causes Of Upper Abdominal Pain Or Discomfort That May Be Confused With Dyspepsia
Biliary colic from gall stones
Abdominal wall pain
Mesenteric vascular insufficiency
Anaemia due to iron deficiency
Recent onset of persistent symptoms
However, the risk of gastric cancer is extremely low in patients under the age of 55 years presenting with the new onset of dyspepsia in most Western countries including Britain. Furthermore, alarm symptoms such as weight loss, dysphagia, or anaemia help to identify those who need to be investigated in order to exclude malignancy, although between 15% and 50% of dyspeptic patients with gastric cancer do not have these symptoms. Endoscopic evaluation is therefore recommended in older patients presenting with new symptoms and in all patients with alarm symptoms.
A Systemic Problem Needs A Systemic Solution
Its a systemic problem affecting the whole body, and as such it can only be effectively neutralized with a systemic approach that takes into account everything from diet to sleeping habits to weight to posture and more.
If you want to be rid of this bothersome condition, we suggest using a combination of the remedies described above for optimal relief.
Do you have any experience treating your acid reflux with natural remedies? If so, please leave a comment and tell us about it. We would love to know more about what works for you.
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When To See The Doctor About Acid Reflux
You should see a doctor about your acid reflux if it gets to a point where its causing persistent discomfort in your daily life. The condition is not life-threatening, but you can end up with some serious complications.
GERD can lead to chronic inflammation in your esophagus. You could end up with the following conditions if you dont receive proper and timely treatment:
- Esophageal stricture An esophageal stricture forms when your lower esophagus ends up with damage from stomach acids, leading to scar tissue formation. The presence of that scar tissue causes your food pathway to narrow, which causes you to have trouble swallowing your food.
- Esophageal ulcer An esophageal ulcer is a sore that develops when your stomach acid wears away the issue of your esophagus. It can start bleeding, which can cause pain and leads to problems with swallowing.
- Barretts esophagus The damage caused in your lower esophagus tissue by stomach acid can induce changes that increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Heartburn & Excess Saliva
Research shows there is a connection between acid reflux and excess saliva production.
During an acid reflux attack, stomach acids enter the esophagus. According to WebMD, the salivary glands respond to this by increased saliva production the esophago-salivary reflex in order to help remove the acid from the esophagus, but this can actually worsen your condition.
The result can be heartburn, water brash, sour taste in the mouth, all of them are common acid reflux symptoms.
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Can You Have Acid Reflux And Not Know It
Acid reflux can manifest in different ways. Other patients may report extreme versions of acid reflux involving constant heartburn and regurgitation, while others might only report trouble swallowing and coughing.
Alternatively, there is another form of esophageal reflux that doesnt exhibit the same symptoms as GERD or heartburn. If youre experiencing classic reflux symptoms such as coughing and sleep apnea, you may be experiencing what is known as silent reflux.