How Is Acid Reflux Disease Diagnosed
Its time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications dont bring lasting relief. Symptoms such as heartburn are the key to the diagnosis of acid reflux disease, especially if lifestyle changes, antacids, or acid-blocking medications help reduce these symptoms.
If these steps dont help or if you have frequent or severe symptoms, your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis and check for other problems. You may need one or more tests such as these:
- Barium swallow can check for ulcers or a narrowing of the esophagus. You first swallow a solution to help structures show up on an X-ray.
- Esophageal manometry can check the function and movement of the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
- pH monitoring can check for acid in your esophagus. The doctor inserts a device into your esophagus and leaves it in place for 1 to 2 days to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus.
- Endoscopycan check for problems in your esophagus or stomach. This test involves inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube with a camera down your throat. First, the doctor will spray the back of your throat with anesthetic and give you a sedative to make you more comfortable.
- A biopsymay be taken during endoscopy to check samples of tissue under a microscope for infection or abnormalities.
Controlling Excess Stomach Acid
Too much stomach acid can be uncomfortable and lead to many other unpleasant symptoms, but it isn’t something that must be lived with. It isn’t just the reduction of acidic foods in the diet that can help prevent too much acid in the stomach, but also the way that they are eaten.
The Cleveland Clinic advises that overproduction of acid in the stomach can be controlled by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can exacerbate stomach acid and pressure on the stomach muscles.
- Eating small, frequent meals: A large intake of food at any one time fills the stomach and may stress the esophageal sphincter. Space out meals and have smaller portions to ease the pressure on the stomach muscles.
- Watching your posture while eating: Sitting upright when consuming food allows for a more streamlined digestive process as it straightens out where the esophagus and stomach meet, and this can ease pressure on the stomach that can result in acid reflux.
Can Acid Reflux Disease Be Treated With Medications
In many cases, lifestyle changes combined with over-the-counter medications are all you need to control the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Riopan, can neutralize the acid from your stomach. But they may cause diarrhea or constipation, especially if you overuse them. Its best to use antacids that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide. When combined, they may help counteract these gastrointestinal side effects.
If antacids dont help, your doctor may try other medications. Some require a prescription. Your doctor may suggest more than one type or suggest you try a combination of medications such as these:
- Foaming agents coat your stomach to prevent reflux.
- H2 blockers decrease acid production.
- Proton pump inhibitors also reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes.
- Prokinetics can help strengthen the LES, empty your stomach faster, and reduce acid reflux.
Dont combine more than one type of antacid or other medications without your doctors guidance.
Recommended Reading: What To Take For Upset Stomach And Diarrhea
Recommended Reading: Can Advil Help Stomach Pain
Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals
Theres a ring-like muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter where the esophagus opens into the stomach.
It acts as a valve and normally prevents the acidic contents of the stomach from going up into the esophagus. It typically stays closed but may open when you swallow, belch, or vomit.
In people with acid reflux, this muscle is weakened or dysfunctional. Acid reflux can also occur when theres too much pressure on the muscle, causing acid to squeeze through the opening .
Unsurprisingly, most reflux symptoms take place after a meal. It also seems that eating just one to two large meals per day may worsen reflux symptoms (
For this reason, some studies suggest that losing at least 10% of your body weight could significantly decrease symptoms of GERD in people with the condition .
Achieving and maintaining a moderate body weight can help reduce acid reflux in the long term.
However, if youre interested in this approach, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional to assess whether its right for you, and if so, how you can lose weight safely and sustainably.
Losing belly fat and maintaining a moderate weight might relieve some of your symptoms of GERD. However, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before attempting to lose weight to treat this condition.
Everything You Need To Know On How To Reduce Stomach Acid
Stomach acid is needed to digest food and allow the body to absorb nutrients. You need a certain level daily, or you can end up with digestive problems and constipation.
However, there are times that your stomach acid causes other problems. You can have too much, causing stomach ulcers and heartburn. Some people must deal with the stomach acid leaving the stomach the wrong way, causing discomfort on the esophagus.
So, you need to find a way to reduce stomach acid. You want to cut the problem of heartburn and stomach ulcers as much as possible. While there are medications to help, you can also help to reduce stomach acid naturally. These tips will help to deal with the symptoms of heartburn at the same time.
Heres a look at all you need to know about reducing stomach acid.
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.
Treating Heartburn And Gerd
Heartburn is a feeling of burning pain in your lower chest, behind the breastbone. It comes from acid backing up from your stomach to your throat. You may have seen ads for heartburn drugs, such as Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid. These drugs are called PPIs . They keep the stomach from making too much acid. They have been shown to heal irritation of the tube between the throat and the stomach .
In most cases, you dont need a PPI for heartburn. You can get relief from a less powerful drug. And when you do need a PPI, you should take the lowest dose for as short a time as possible. Heres why:
Recommended Reading: How To Lose Stomach Fat In 4 Weeks
The Symptoms Of Too Much Stomach Acid
You may be wondering how you can know if your stomach produces too much acid. The symptoms and their severity often differ from person to person, but there are a few signs which are common among most of the sufferers.
A very common symptom in case of hyperacidity is the feeling of discomfort in your stomach. In medical terms it is known as dyspepsia and it may lead to a burning sensation in your stomach, burping, bloating, nausea, or even vomiting. However, you need to be aware that dyspepsia may also appear in other stomach-related conditions, for example in stomach ulcers.
Another common symptom is acid reflux, which is also known as heartburn. It happens when the stomach acid from your stomach moves back into your esophagus and throat. As a result, you can feel the feeling of burning in your stomach and the irritation of your throat.
If you suffer from too much acid in your stomach, you may also experience indigestion, flatulence, belching, or bloating. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe ones.
When Should You Consider A Ppi
Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms such as trouble swallowing, weight loss, or chest pain. Call the doctor if you dont get better in about two weeks. The doctor will look for signs of problems such as GERD .
If you have GERD, you probably need a PPI. Talk to your doctor if:
- You have heartburn at least twice a week for several weeks.
- Food or acid often come back up into your throat.
- You take antacid or H2 blockers, and you make changes like the ones described on this page, but your heartburn does not go away.
If your doctor thinks you need a PPI:
- Ask to start with a low dose of generic prescription lansoprazole or omeprazole. You can also get these medicines over the counter.
- If the heartburn gets better after a few weeks, talk to your doctor about gradually lowering your dose.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Also Check: Does Stomach Cancer Cause Nausea
Excess Stomach Acid Causes
The body responds to what it consumes in a big way, and excess acid is all a part of that. Paying attention to what is going into your meals and the acidity of foods is a positive way to ensure acid intake isn’t too high.
According to University Hospitals, the following are foods and drinks that exacerbate stomach acid and encourage acid reflux:
- Coffee and tea: Caffeine is known to encourage acid reflux opt for decaf when consuming these drinks.
- Carbonated beverages: Expanding bubbles strain the stomach.
- Chocolate: Caffeine, fat and cocoa all worsen acid reflux.
- Peppermint: Despite its reputation for soothing the stomach, peppermint actually encourages acid reflux.
- Grapefruit and orange:Citrus fruits are naturally high in acid.
- Tomatoes: These too possess a naturally high acid content.
- Alcohol: Alcohol relaxes the stomach sphincter and also creates too much acid in the stomach.
- Fried foods: Oven or grill cooked is always better.
- Late-night snacks:Strain on the digestive system only worsens the condition of the stomach.
Is Acid Reflux Disease Ever Treated With Surgery
If medications don’t completely resolve your symptoms of acid reflux disease and the symptoms are severely interfering with your life, your doctor could recommend surgery. There are two types of surgical treatment used to relieve symptoms of GERD if daily use of medication isn’t effective.
The most recently approved procedure involves surgically placing a ring known as a LINX device around the outside of the lower end of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The ring consists of magnetic titanium beads held together by titanium wires. The device helps reflux by preventing stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. In one study, patients were able to stop taking medicine or cut down the amount they took. You shouldn’t get the LINX device if you’re allergic to certain metals, and once you have a LINX device you shouldn’t get any type of MRI test.
Another surgical procedure called a fundoplication can help prevent further acid reflux. It creates an artificial valve using the top of your stomach. The procedure involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it, prevent acid reflux, and repair a hiatal hernia. Surgeons perform this procedure through either an open incision in the abdomen or chest or with a lighted tube inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen.
These procedures are done only as a last resort for treating acid reflux disease after medical treatment has proven to be inadequate.
You May Like: How Can You Burn Stomach Fat
What Is An Acid Reflux Diet
Acid reflux is the term used to describe the condition when the acid from our stomach flows back into the esophagus., which results in an uncomfortable and troublesome symptom known as heartburn. The foods that we eat impact the amount of acid the stomach produces. A diet with the right kind of foods is the key to an acid reflux diet.
Why Is It Important To Balance Out My Bodys Ph
When your body is slightly alkaline, or with a pH above 7, it can protect itself against certain illnesses. On the other hand, when your body experiences high acidity levels, youre more likely to experience chronic problems such as diabetes, obesity, migraines, cataracts, cancer, arthritis, allergies, osteoporosis, etc.
Don’t Miss: When Can Infants Sleep On Their Stomach
Worst Foods For Reflux
In general, anything that is fatty, acidic or highly caffeinated should be avoided. The worst foods for acid reflux list includes:
- Coffee and tea Caffeinated beverages aggravate acid reflux. Opt for teas without caffeine.
- Carbonated beverages The bubbles expand in your stomach, creating more pressure and pain. Choose plain water or decaf iced tea.
- Chocolate This treat has a trifecta of acid reflux problems: caffeine, fat and cocoa.
- Peppermint Dont be fooled by its reputation for soothing the tummy peppermint is an acid reflux trigger.
- Grapefruit and orange The high acidity of citrus fruits relaxes the esophagus sphincter and worsens symptoms.
- Tomatoes Also avoid marinara sauce, ketchup and tomato soup theyre all naturally high in acid.
- Alcohol This has a double whammy effect. Alcohol relaxes the sphincter valve but it also stimulates acid production in the stomach.
- Fried foods These are some of the worst foods for reflux. Skip the french fries, onion rings and fried chicken cook on the grill or in the oven at home.
- Late-night snacks Avoid eating anything in the two hours before you go to bed. Also, you can try eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day instead of two to three large meals.
Home Remedies To Cure Acidity Naturally
There are a number of antacids available in the market that offers instant relief in acidity. But one should not depend on antacids for long. Antacids contain magnesium, generally as magnesium hydroxide. However, chemically synthesized antacids should be avoided for frequent use as magnesium can have side effects.
Here are some of the best remedies to cure acidity or acid reflux naturally and permanently.
Drink plenty of water
Water is the most important and vital nutrient of the body which makes up about 70-75% of the total body weight. It is not only a natural appetite suppressant but it also helps to lose weight. Drinking two glasses of water regularly in the morning helps to maintain the proper level of acid secretion in the stomach. If you are tired of acidity, then this is probably the simplest and most effective way to get rid of acidity permanently.
Drinking coconut water after meals helps prevent indigestion and acid reflux. It stimulates production of mucous in the stomach, thus, protecting it from excess gastric acid secretion. It also contains high amount of fiber, which aids in smooth and easy digestion of food.
Eating a banana daily helps prevent acid reflux. It is a natural antacid, which decreases the acid level in the stomach and removes harmful toxins. It is rich in sulphur and protein, which helps in better digestion of food. It contains potassium, an alkalizing agent, which brings down acidity in the stomach.
Tulsi or holy basil
You May Like: How To Stop Stomach Gas Pain
Can Acid Reflux Disease Be Treated With Diet And Lifestyle Changes
One of the most effective ways to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid the foods and beverages that trigger symptoms. Here are other steps you can take:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and modify the types of foods you are eating..
- If you’re overweight or obese, take steps to lose weight with exercise and diet changes.
- Also, ask your doctor whether any medication could be triggering your heartburn or other symptoms of acid reflux disease.
How To Cure Gerd Permanently
GERD is acid reflux that can be caused by a weaker LES . The LES works as a trapdoor opens to let food in when our stomach is empty. Our stomach is full, it is closed to stop bile and the acid from leaving the stomach.
When you have GERD, your LES is weak. This means that either it does not open or closes properly or opens or closes at the appropriate time. This may cause acids and bile to flow out back into the esophagus, especially while you are lying.
Indigestion and heartburn are the most common symptoms of GERD. But, if the symptoms are occurring to happen, it may be so, that you have a more serious degree of the problem. GERD causes high degrees of discomfort for the sufferer, allowing with having difficulties in swallowing food, chest pains, and wheezing. In the long run, GERD can cause serious health hazards.
How to cure acidity permanently The Gerd Diet
GERD treatment is best done with diet. Diet has a major role to play in controlling the symptoms of GERD like acid reflux and also serves as the first line of treatment. The GERD Diet is more of a lifestyle modification than merely a diet. You may immediately start having a burning sensation in your chest and stomach after having food or certain foods, and may experience vomiting if you are suffering from GERD. Some other symptoms might include stomach bloating, sore throat, bumps and cramps in the stomach, dry cough, and a lump in the throat.
Gerd treatment includes tracking of: