When To Visit Your Doctor
Some people find relief on their own, without needing to see a doctor. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux two or more times per week, however, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment as this can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who can perform tests such as:
- Barium X-rays: You drink a barium solution and then your doctor takes X-rays of your upper digestive tract
- Endoscopy: Your doctor inserts a camera into your esophagus to examine the tissue and take a small biopsy if necessary
- Biopsy: Your doctor takes a small sample of tissue from your esophagus to examine under a microscope
- Monitoring your pH levels: Your doctor monitors the acidity of your stomach
Seeking treatment for chronic acid reflux is important. Untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to cancer of your esophagus. Other complications of untreated gastroesophageal reflux include:
- Inflammation in your esophagus
- Permanent changes to the lining of your esophagus
- Chronic cough or breathing issues such as asthma
- Dental issues such as enamel erosion, cavities, and gum disease
Symptoms of acid reflux can also mimic symptoms of other serious conditions, such as:
How Is Acid Reflux Disease Diagnosed
It’s time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications don’t 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 don’t 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.
Ways To Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally
According to the author of Dr. Jonathan Wright, author of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, more that 90% of Americans have inadequate levels of stomach acid. This condition is called hypochlorhydria.
Low stomach acid leads to a cascade of digestive problems further south in the digestion process, such as bloating, gas and constipation.
Why is it so important to heal low stomach acid? Lets start with the all-to-common consequences of low stomach acid.
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Limit Intake Of Caffeinated Beverages
Several studies have stated that coffee can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter. Multiple theories have been put forward to explain the effects of coffee on acid reflux.
- Caffeine might be responsible for coffees effects on acid reflux
- The way coffee is processed and prepared might be responsible for worsening acid reflux symptoms
- Coffee can increase the duration of acid reflux episodes between meals
Irrespective of the underlying mechanism, people who experience worsening acid reflux symptoms after drinking coffee should limit their intake.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.
They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.
It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.
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Garlic Onions And Spicy Foods
Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people.
These foods wont trigger reflux in everyone. But if you eat a lot of onions or garlic, track your meals carefully in your diary. Some of these foods, along with spicy foods, may bother you more than other foods do.
Elevate Your Head In Bed
Keeping your head up is ideal if you experience acid reflux at night, says Huber. Piling up the pillows isn’t the best way to go about this, though, as pillows are liable to shift. An adjustable bed base might be a better option for you if you have acid reflux, says Huber. Adjustable bases make it easy to get into a sleeping position that will help mitigate symptoms.
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Hiatal Hernia: A Medical Cause Of Acid Reflux
A hiatal hernia is a common cause of acid reflux, particularly as you get older. It happens when a small part of your stomach pushes up into your chest. The root cause isnt known, but it is attributed to weakened muscle tissue around the diaphragm for a variety of reasons, a flat muscle in the chest which helps with the breathing mechanism.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent a hiatus hernia forming. It is more common in people over 50 years of age. The symptoms are the same as acid reflux symptoms in adults, and there are treatments available which you can discuss with a doctor.
Tips For Controlling Your Acid Reflux Symptoms
After binging on spicy pizza or greasy onion rings, anyone can suffer from occasional indigestion resulting in acid reflux. Thats the uncomfortable sometimes painful condition when your stomach acid, and even food, creep back up into your esophagus. But if you get hit with heartburn a couple times a week or more, you may be experiencing a chronic form of acid reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease .
If you live in or near the Fairfax or South Riding, Virginia, communities, youre in luck. Dr. Chethana Rao at Prima Medicine is an expert on acid reflux. She can help you solve your acid reflux issues with fast-acting medications, long-term treatments, or both.
Meanwhile, there are some simple ways you may be able to ease your own symptoms. Here are 7 lifestyle changes that may reduce or eliminate your acid reflux symptoms.
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When To Talk To Your Doctor About Acid Reflux
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if the best foods for acid reflux do not relieve your symptoms, Dr. Khaitan says. Other options can include lifestyle changes, medications to block acid, and surgical procedures on the esophagus sphincter.
It is important to make a doctor’s appointment if you have heartburn or acid reflux that is severe or frequent, Dr. Khaitan adds. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease and can lead to esophageal cancer.
Acidic Tummy: Things To Remember
Acid reflux disease is a common condition and is on the rise in the western world, alongside diseases such as obesity and diabetes. This is largely due to the western diet which has poor nutritious quality and sedentary lifestyles. But there are things you can do to reduce the risk of acid reflux disrupting your life. Just remember:
- Acid reflux is not caused by too much stomach acid.
- Acid reflux happens when stomach acid travels back into your oesophagus.
- If it happens more than twice a week, its gastroesophageal disease .
- Extra weight on your waist is linked to acid reflux.
- Your lifestyle can help prevent or encourage acid reflux.
- There could be a link between the condition and gut dysbiosis.
- Ask your doctor about heartburn, its a proper medical problem.
- Surgery is a last resort in many cases of GERD.
- A fibre-rich diet, gentle exercise, quitting smoking, and weight loss can help.
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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.
How To Increase Stomach Acid Permanently
Cloves are a good way to fight acidity.Coconut water when coconut water is drunk, the acidic level changes to alkaline, while the amount of the ingredient in the stomach also increases which protects it from the harmful effects of excess acidity.Drinks like alcohol, carbonated drinks, etc, and large meals can also contribute to acid reflux.Fatty and spicy food, like burgers and pizza, can also increase acidity, as such food cause les to relax and allows more stomach acid to back up into the food pipe.
First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, drink a glass of water with a 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda dissolved in it, then time up to five minutes.H2 blockers block a substance in the body that encourages acid production in the stomach.Here is how apple cider vinegar can help you against acid reflux.Histamine h2 receptor agonists cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine:
How to get rid of stomach acid permanentlyHow to heal stomach acid naturally should be the first thing we look at, but if youre anything like me, the first thing recommended to you was to take an antacid or a heartburn pill.If it is low, this does not happen.If you burp straight away you have too much and beyond 4 minutes, too little.
x trustworthy source johns hopkins medicine official.
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Eat Smaller Portions At Regular Intervals
A large meal often triggers acidity more often than not. What happens if when your stomach is full, there is a greater chance that the stomach acids can be pushed back up the oesophagus which will trigger reflux, indigestion, stomach spasms and discomfort. Instead, eat smaller portions but at regular intervals to prevent acidity. This is a good tip also because staying hungry for too long or having long time gaps between your meals can also cause acidity.
Opt For Cooked Onions Instead Of Raw
Raw onions are a common trigger for acid reflux and heartburn.
One older study in people with acid reflux showed that eating a meal containing raw onion significantly increased heartburn, acid reflux, and burping, compared with consuming an identical meal that didnt contain onions .
More frequent burping might suggest that more gas is being produced. This could be due to the high amounts of fermentable fiber in onions .
Raw onions are also more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn .
Whatever the reason, if you think eating raw onion makes your symptoms worse, you should avoid it and opt for cooked onions instead.
Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.
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More Ways To Avoid Heartburn
Sometimes it not just what you eat, but how you eat. Check out these tips for taming those searing symptoms.
Dont slouch when eating. It may be tempting to settle into the cushions and watch TV while inhaling that plate of Buffalo wings. But sitting less than straight while you chow down can encourage gastric juices to head in the wrong direction. Doctors say its also important stay upright for 45 to 60 minutes after eating. If stomach acid does escape, gravity will send that noxious stuff back to where it belongs: your stomach. Liquid and gas want to go to the path of least resistance, Pichetshote says. If youre laying down it can easily go up toward your head. If youre a little more upright, it has to fight gravity to move upward. The same goes for sleeping: Wait at least two to three hours after eating before hitting the sack.
Find your sweet spot. Overeating is never a good idea. When your stomach is distended and bloated, acid can rise back into the esophagus, triggering symptoms. But an empty stomach can cause problems, too. Go more than three to four hours without a meal or snack, and stomach acid which would usually be used in the digestive process to break down food collects. The best approach? Eat smaller meals and eat slowly. And choose water to wash things down.
Prescription Proton Pump Inhibitors
Healthcare providers prescribe PPIs to treat people with gastroesophageal reflux disease , peptic ulcer disease, or other digestive disorders that may cause excess stomach acid.
Prescription proton pump inhibitors are available under the following brand names and may have generic formulations:
Prescription PPIs are meant to be taken under a healthcare provider’s supervision and only for a limited amount of time. Chronic use of PPIs has been associated with heart attacks, kidney disease, and bone fractures.
Ways To Improve Stomach Acid
Treating low stomach acid depends on the underlying cause. If youve been prescribed antacid medication for your heartburn symptoms, your doctor may change your prescription to avoid triggering hypochlorhydria symptoms.
However, there are a few steps you can follow to help increase stomach acid levels on your own.
What Aggravates Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD
Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.
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Is It Just Heartburn Or Gerd
Frequent heartburn can be a major issue. If you experience heartburn two or more times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease .
In this chronic condition, frequent exposure to stomach acid irritates and damages the esophagus. Over time, that can lead to problems such as difficulty swallowing. An estimated 40 percent of Americans report symptoms of GERD but the condition can significantly improve with lifestyle changes.
If you’ve tried home remedies and lifestyle adjustments and still have frequent heartburn, consult with your family doctor or a gastroenterologist. There are multiple treatments that can help, including medications and minimally invasive surgery for acid reflux.
Drink A Glass Of Milk
If you feel like stomach acid reflux or heartburn is a problem, you will want to tackle the symptoms. While these dont necessary help to balance out the stomach acid , they can help to line the esophagus and limit the discomfort that you experience. Some of them will help to keep the stomach acid levels down slightly.
Milk is the best option. Its easy to drink, cold, and will help to line esophagus and stomach quickly. Youll also get plenty of calcium in your diet by using it.
Theres no fizz to milk, which also helps to keep the heartburn and stomach acid symptoms to a minimum. You can benefit from almond and soya milk if you want, but youll need to keep some to a minimum. Unfortunately, soya has been known to cause heartburn in limited cases.
When you dont want milk, why not opt for some yogurt? You can enjoy it with some non-acidic fruit to help balance out the levels in the stomach or have it on its own. Opt for plain yogurt, as the fruity options will have extra sugars.
If you opt for any type of milk or yogurt, make sure it is low fat. Watch for the sugar levels in these, but you should be fine with most skim milk, almond milk, or Greek yogurt.
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How To Take Pantoprazole
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about pantoprazole and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- If you have been prescribed pantoprazole, take it exactly as your doctor tells you to. There are different strengths of tablets available so your doctor will tell you which is right for you. It is usually taken once a day. If you are taking it for either Helicobacter pylori eradication or for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, it is likely you will be asked to take two doses a day. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you and the directions will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
- If you have bought pantoprazole for symptoms such as heartburn, take one tablet in the morning. You may need to take pantoprazole for a day or so to control your symptoms. If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, you should talk with your doctor about this.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Do not chew, crush or break the tablet before you swallow. Pantoprazole can be taken before or after food, although taking it before food is preferable.
- If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, you can take it when you remember . Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.