Where Theres Smoke Theres Fire
Often, what we eat can trigger heartburn. Although heartburn triggers are different for everyone, some common foods that can cause it include:
- Fried foods
- Food with tomatoes or tomato sauce
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks may also bring on the burn. Certain medical conditions and medications can also cause it. Our lifestyle habits may also lead to heartburn for instance, smoking is a potential cause, and exercise may trigger it as well.
Both alcohol and tobacco can relax that LES, and when it relaxes, it opens. When its open, thats when its more likely that the contents will go up the esophagus, Sauer explains.
The pain caused by heartburn may be worse if you are lying down , as the liquid contents of the stomach wont have to fight gravity like they do when you are standing. Also, pregnancy can worsen instances of heartburn, because the growing fetus takes up space within the body and pushes up against the stomach. Obesity is the most common risk factor for heartburn, as the extra weight in the midsection puts pressure on the stomach, leading the reflux.
What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.
With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.
While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.
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Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms
Usually, acid reflux symptoms cause no complications. In a few cases, continued esophageal damage can lead to scarring, which may cause the esophagus to narrow. The narrowing creates strictures and makes it difficult to swallow. You may have dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus. In some cases, normal cells in the lining of the esophagus may be replaced by a different type of cell. This is called Barrett’s esophagus, which can sometimes develop into cancer.
What Is Happening: Waking Up Choking At Night While Sleeping
These kinds of episodes are quite frightening. When this happened to me I would violently be awoken and have trouble breathing. Breathing became painful, sometimes for days, and its quite possible some content went into the mouth and lungs. Many times my heart started to race and I got sweaty.
When the above happened the acid and stomach content can cause Acid Reflux induced asthma. When acid goes in your mouth it splashes on your teeth and can cause damage to them. The worst thing you could do for your teeth are brush them right away. My dentist told me that he could see the signs of Acid Reflux on his patients teeth. He also told me to rinse my mouth and wait a while, rinse again and then brush the same goes for acidic foods.
The things you could do before going to bed:
Is all the life style changes, from losing weight, to staying away from offending foods such as acidic foods, fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, carbonated drinks, etc. these are the hard thing to do, it takes planning and discipline.
Reasons why these life style changes help:
Many of these foods relax the sphincter muscles or add gas to your stomach increasing upward pressure and/or therefore requiring less pressure for acid and Stomach content to get into the esophagus.
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When Do Acid Reflux Symptoms Occur
Acid reflux symptoms most often occur:
- After eating a heavy meal
- When bending over or lifting an object
- When lying down, especially on your back
People who have frequent acid reflux symptoms most often experience them at night. Nighttime GERD also produces the most pain. However, the level of pain does not always indicate the degree of damage to your esophagus.
More than half of all pregnant women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Increased hormones and pressure from a growing fetus can combine to produce this acid reflux symptom. In most cases, heartburn improves or completely goes away after delivery.
Where Are The Esophageal Sphincter Muscles
The upper esophageal sphincter keeps stomach acid out of the pharynx and larynx. When it doesn’t work properly, you can develop symptoms such as hoarseness, loss of voice, chronic cough, phlegm in the back of the throat, and a feeling that something is stuck in the throat. Although the stomach contents come in contact with the lower esophagus before reaching the throat, only about 35% of people with LPR also experience GERD. Experts don’t know why. It may be that the larynx and pharynx are more sensitive to acid than the esophagus. Also, refluxed acid is more likely to pool in the larynx and pharynx, resulting in prolonged exposure. GERD symptoms are usually worst when you are lying down, while LPR often occurs when you are standing or bending over or exercising.
LPR is usually diagnosed by symptoms, although a specialist may look directly at the area with a laryngoscope for signs of swelling and inflammation. The treatment of LPR begins with changes in diet and behavior, including these:
If diet and behavior changes don’t help, a medication may be prescribed usually, treatment starts with a proton-pump inhibitor . Commonly prescribed PPIs include rabeprazole , esomeprazole , lansoprazole , omeprazole , and pantoprazole . They all work by reducing the amount of acid made in the stomach.
Celeste Robb-Nicholson, M.D.
The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test
Ingesting baking soda has been a natural remedy used for many years to help settle an upset stomach. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which has hydroxide ions that reduce acidity. Since reducing acidity can create more comfort in someone with acid reflux, baking soda developed this reputation.
There is a simple test you can do at your home in order to see if you have enough stomach acid. This involves drinking baking soda in order to create a unique chemical reaction within your stomach. This reaction happens when the ions of the baking soda and the hydrogen ions within the hydrochloric acid . This should naturally result in carbon dioxide gas production and a resulting burping effect.
This test is virtually free so there is nothing to lose. I recommend doing this test because it is safe and has no cost and it can be done very easily.
However, the test isnt without its flaws. There are many variables that go uncontrolled for in this experiment. To minimize extraneous variables, I recommend performing the test on 3 consecutive mornings in order to find an overall average.
With this method, you are looking for a pattern of results instead of a one-time yes or no. Also, to improve the accuracy it is important to do the test first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.
Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid . Any belching after 3 minutes is an indication of low stomach acid production.
Otc Remedies For Acid Reflux
For people who experience heartburn or indigestion infrequently, perhaps in association with occasional food and drink triggers, OTC treatments to reduce the acidity of the stomach contents are available.
These liquid and tablet formulations are called antacids, and there are dozens of brands available, all with similar effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, and any need for regular use should be discussed with a doctor.
Antacids provide rapid but short-term relief by reducing the acidity of the stomach contents.
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Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach
When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food. Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage from the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.
There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but then normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.
Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis
How Is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Diagnosed
LPR is usually diagnosed based on the patients symptoms of irritation or swelling in the throat and the back of the voice box. In many cases, no testing is needed to make the diagnosis.
If testing is needed, three commonly used tests are: a swallowing study a direct look at the stomach and esophagus through an endoscope, and an esophageal pH test:
- In a swallowing study, the patient swallows a special liquid called barium, which coats the esophagus, stomach and intestine so they are outlined on an X-ray. This allows the doctor to see the movement of food as it passes from the mouth to the esophagus.
- The doctor can also view the inside of the stomach and esophagus with an endoscope, a long thin tube with a camera on the end that the doctor passes through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach.
- The esophageal pH test measures and records the pH in the esophagus. A thin, small tube with a device on the tip that senses acid is gently passed through the nose, down the esophagus, and positioned about 2 inches above the lower esophageal sphincter. The tube is fastened to the side of the face with tape. The end of the tube that comes out of the nose is attached to a portable recorder that is worn on the belt or over the shoulder. The recorder has several buttons on it that the patient presses to mark certain events.
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Treatments For Acid Reflux
|Long-lasting reduction of stomach acid production that prevents oesophageal damage due to chronic reflux.|
|Histamine H2 receptor agonists||cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine||These act on the cells which produce stomach acid and stop excessive stomach acid production. They can reduce acid secretions by 70 percent over 24 hours.|
Surgery is usually reserved for very severe cases of valve dysfunction if GERD doesnt respond to treatment or lifestyle changes. However, making some changes to your lifestyle can help to effectively reduce or prevent the symptoms of acid reflux.
FACTPPIs can change the composition of the gut microbiota which can lead to a less healthy microbiome.
Know The 8 Worst Foods For Acid Reflux Or Heartburn
Experts say you can uncover your specific triggers by paying close attention to how your body reacts to what youre eating. But you may well find one of the following eight foods pops up as a problem.
1. Fried, fatty foods. Talk about a triple whammy. First, foods that are high in fat and drenched in oil cause the lower esophageal sphincter the ring of muscle connecting the esophagus and stomach to relax, allowing acid to leak out and up into the esophagus. Also, they are digested slowly and sit in your stomach longer, giving gastric acid more time to work its way up into your esophagus, increasing your risk of heartburn. And high-fat food can cause weight gain. That extra poundage increases pressure on your abdomen, making it easier for fluid to travel upward, into the esophagus. Tip: Opt instead for lean cuts of meat, chicken and fish, cooked on the grill or in the oven.
2. Citrus fruits. Their vitamin C may be the draw, but these fruits high acid content makes them risky for reflux. Lemons and limes are the biggest culprits, but oranges, grapefruit, grapes and blueberries make the list, too. Tip: Offset their acidity by buffering them with more alkaline foods, such as low-fat yogurt.
5. Peppermint. A cup of refreshing, mint-infused tea can calm a turbulent tummy. But peppermint, in any form, can also cause gastric reflux and heartburn. Tip: Savor a cup of soothing chamomile tea or suck on licorice-flavored hard candy to soothe your stomach.
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What To Do If Heartburn Is Severe Or Frequent
For mild, occasional heartburn, over-the-counter medications such as antacids and histamine blockers can help relieve symptoms. Always read the product label before taking an antacid or histamine blocker and never take a larger dose or take doses more frequently than directed.
If you’re experiencing heartburn frequently, consult your doctor before taking heartburn medications regularly since these drugs can interfere with many other medications and affect underlying health conditions you may have.
If you have severe heartburn, as well as if it persists or worsens after taking steps to relieve it, consult your doctor. In some cases, heartburn can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , or possibly a side effect of a medication you’re taking.
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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Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages
Healthcare professionals sometimes advise people with GERD to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.
This is because studies have observed that regular consumption of carbonated or fizzy beverages, including soft drinks, club soda, and seltzer, could be linked to a higher risk of reflux .
One study found that carbonated soft drinks, in particular, worsened certain acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn, fullness, and burping .
The main reason is that the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages causes people to burp more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .
Drinking carbonated beverages temporarily increases the frequency of burping, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.
Know Your Medication Side Effects
Certain medications may contribute to GERD. Some common ones include:
- anticholinergics, which treat, among other conditions, overactive bladder and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
- tricyclic antidepressants
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
If these or other medications are causing acid reflux or other symptoms, tell your doctor. Alternative treatments may be available.
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What Causes Low Stomach Acid
Low stomach acid can be traced back to a number of causes. At Parsley Health, the top cause of low stomach acid that we see is stress, particularly this year, says Zellner. Its one reason low stomach acid can go easily undiagnosedmost doctors arent looking at our stress levels. When youre stressed, your body shifts processes that arent critical for survival in the momentlike digestionto the back burner, Zellner explains. If youre chronically stressed, your normal digestion is constantly being interrupted, including inhibiting gastric acid secretion, shows research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Some other common causes include:
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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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.
Coming Off Your Medication Can Cause Antidepressant Withdrawal And Could Set You Up For A Relapse Of Depression
Can going off your medication cause antidepressant withdrawal symptoms ? About 10% of women ages 18 and over take antidepressants. As many of us know, these medications can be a godsend when depression has robbed life of its joy and made it hard to muster the energy and concentration to complete everyday tasks. But as you begin to feel better and want to move on, how long should you keep taking the pills?
If you’re doing well on antidepressants and not complaining of too many side effects, many physicians will renew the prescription indefinitely figuring that it offers a hedge against a relapse of depression. But side effects that you may have been willing to put up with initially sexual side effects , , insomnia, drowsiness, vivid dreaming, or just not feeling like yourself can become less acceptable over time, especially if you think you no longer need the pills.
The decision to go off antidepressants should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of your physician or therapist to make sure you’re not stopping prematurely, risking a recurrence of . Once you decide to quit, you and your physician should take steps to minimize or avoid the discontinuation symptoms that can occur if such medications are withdrawn too quickly.
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