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.
How Carbohydrates And Insulin Resistance Lead To Heartburn And Hunger
The intestinal tract is primarily under the control of the parasympathetic branch of the Autonomic Nervous System . The parasympathetic branch is primarily responsible for the contractions that empty the stomach and propel food along its course through the small and large intestines.
As I have discussed in other articles on my website, the ANS is a neurological network connecting your brain, spinal column and nerves to every organ in your body. This connectivity allows the ANS helps regulate and coordinate the function of all your bodys organs.
For example, the ANS is responsible for maintaining your blood pressure, helping your digestive tract to function correctly, assists in maintaining various hormonal levels in the body, helping our pupils to dilate and constrict, regulating your body temperature with the amount we sweat as well as coordinating bladder function.
The ANS is particularly involved with the control and flow of the acid within our stomachs. The stomach is constantly producing acid throughout the day and acid production is increased when we eat.. When we swallow food, it passes through the esophagus down into the stomach. There is a valve between the esophagus and the stomach meant to prevent acid from splashing backwards into the esophagus when the stomach begins contracting in its effort to begin digesting our food.
How To Reduce Acidity
The food that we consume tends to affect our Gut health. Its very important that one should follow a healthy lifestyle, eating habits as well as proper sleep pattern.
- Especially people who work late at night, do not have a sleeping routine, tend to have acidity problems. Also, people who consume lot of spicy, oily, sour and fermented food, coffee, and tea have a tendency of acidity issues. so, people who are facing acidity issues should try to keep control of their taste buds or if necessary try to avoid eating such food.
- Its also important to exercise at least for half an hour as it will help to digestion as well as the movement of the intestine, preventing the acidity problem.
- Cold milk helps to relieve acidity to some extent. It should be consumed in the limit as it may lead to rebound acidity.
- If you have acidity sometimes, it is not necessary that every time you visit a doctor. You can buy over the counter drugs, easily available antacid such as Digene, Gaviscon. But if you are having acidity repeatedly, go to your specialist and do the examination and take medicines prescribed by your doctor.
- Sometimes medicines can also cause acidity.
Acid reflux is not a severe condition. But chronic acidity can cause other health problems or can damage the oesophagus. Acidity can be confused with other chest related problems that can be fatal. It is advisable to visit your healthcare provider if the symptoms of acidity are persistent even after taking medication.
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What Causes Low Stomach Acid
The condition of low stomach acid production is officially known as hypochlorhydria. When the Gastrointestinal Center at the University of Manchester in Manchester, England, conducted the aforementioned study on low stomach acid, its authors detailed recent discoveries about how aging affects digestive function. The researchers confirmed what many naturopathic and integrative medicine practitioners have been championing for yearsthat aging and other factors lead to decreased stomach acid production, and hypochlorhydria symptoms can cause not only uncomfortable digestive issues but more serious problems as well.
According to the University of Manchester researchers, low stomach acid is the primary age-related change that occurs in the stomach and may predispose aging individuals to malabsorption or bacterial overgrowth further along the GI tract.
Despite the common belief that most people have too much stomach acid, the truth is that most actually have low stomach acid. It is estimated that between 23 and 35 percent of those over 65 have symptoms of low stomach acid as a result of just getting older, while others have it as a result of taking drugs designed to reduce stomach acid production or infections with h. pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach inflammation and ulcers.
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.
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Use Other Home Remedies
There are a number of readily available home remedies for those that prefer keeping it natural. These include
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water and drink it.
Eating raw almonds will result in reduced acid influx and also a balanced pH.
Apple cider vinegar, when taken in a few teaspoons, will ensure your digestive system performs as it should.
Drinking chamomile tea.
juice can greatly reduce throwing up stomach acid.
How To Test Your Stomach Acid Levels
Method 1: Baking soda test
You can very easily do this test at home.
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold or room-temperature water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
- Drink the baking soda solution.
- Time how long it takes you to belch.
- If you do not belch within 3 minutes, stop timing.
If you do not belch, you have too little stomach acid. If you belch, you are fine.
This is not the most effective test and it often produces false negatives . I, therefore, recommend Method 2 below.
Method 2: The HCl pill test
The idea here is to dose the HCl pills until you feel a slight discomfort in your stomach. When I was low on stomach acid , I had to take as many as seven pills to feel the warmth.
On Day 1, start with one capsule of HCl, at the beginning of each meal. Note: This means a full meal, not a snack.
Watch for any feelings of warmth, discomfort, pain or burning in the throat or stomach.
- If you experience any of these symptoms after just one capsule, do not take any more pills.
- If these symptoms are NOT present, go to Step 3.
On Day 2, increase your dose by one capsule of HCl at the beginning of each full meal.
- If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above decrease your dose to the level at which you had no symptoms and maintain this dose.
- If you do not feel these symptoms go to Step 4.
Looking for a trusted HCl supplement? We recommend HCl Guard+ from Healthy Gut.
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What Causes Acid Reflux Disease
One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.
These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
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.
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Stomach Acid’s Important Roles For Our Health
The stomach is intended to be highly acidic for several very important reasons:
1. The acidity neutralises harmful pathogens like yeast and bacteria that enter the body in food. If these are not destroyed, they may potentially cause food poisoning or upset the delicate balance of gut bacteria and this in itself can have a whole host of further digestive ramifications such as diarrhoea, gas, bloating and pain.
2. The acidity activates the protein-digesting enzyme in the stomach which is required alongside hydrochloric acid to commence the splitting apart of protein molecules. The acid unravels proteins to enable the pepsin enzyme to get to work. Food is churned and mixed with the acid turning it into a type of gruel called chyme before moving onto the next stage of digestion in the small intestines.
If you can see undigested food in your stools , it can be a good indicator that digestive efficiency in your stomach is less than adequate as food should be unrecognizable once it leaves the stomach.
3. The acidic chyme triggers the release of further digestive secretions in the small intestines required for the complete breakdown of food for its absorption into the bloodstream. Really at this point, food is still external to the body and cannot be utilised, so to help optimise digestion and to support the absorption of the end products of digestion – simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids and glycerol – we require good levels of stomach acid.
What You Will Learn In This Article:
- How Stomach Acid Affects The Body
- Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid
- Benefits of Increasing Stomach Acid
- The Problem with Antacids and PPIs
- How to Test Your Stomach Acid Levels
- How to Increase Low Stomach Acid
Having a low stomach acid level is a very common issue. It might come as a surprise to you that acid reflux is the result of too little stomach acid and not too much. Think about it: Older adults tend to suffer from acid reflux the most. They also tend to under-produce stomach acid and are more likely to suffer from acid reflux than young adults.
Sufficient stomach acid is part of a healthy digestive system which we now know is vital to keeping your hormones in check I wrote about it here.
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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.
Holistic Approach To Dyspepsia Recommended
Patients with symptomatic functional dyspepsia are more likely than people free of this condition to exhibit increased somatisation , more stressful life events, less belief in religion, and drink less tea, suggests the article out in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The lead researchers say that this pattern of findings support a less reductionist approach and favours the strategy that includes considering the patient from a holistic view point.
The findings of the study suggest the importance of adopting a more comprehensive holistic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model when dealing with functional dyspepsia patients.
The researchers identified factors associated with dyspeptic symptoms by comparing demographic and psychosocial features in individuals exhibiting reddish streaks in the stomach, of whom 93 were symptomatic for functional dyspepsia and 67 asymptomatic.
The two groups did not differ with regard to smoking behaviour, alcohol consumption, and coffee intake, but symptomatic patients were significantly less likely to drink tea than their asymptomatic peers, at 37.6% versus 61.2%.
Other differences included that symptomatic patients were more likely than asymptomatic patients to be single , had less belief in religion , experienced a greater number of stressful life events and more severe stressful life events .
What about Helicobacter Pylori?
Hypochlorhydria A Common Problem
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And Then Theres Yoga For Acid Reflux Yes Yoga
Yoga acid reflux treatment for seniors
I saw CNNs program Chasing Life, in which its health expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta travels to countries where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives and tries to learn what enables them to do so.
In India, Dr. Gupta interviewed its prime minister, Narendra Modi, who practices and promotes yoga. During the interview, he demonstrated a yogic treatment for acid reflux.
Strange as it seems, this is it. All I can tell you is that Ive used it five times, four while lying on my side about to go to sleep, when I felt a reflux attack coming on. It worked.
My first try, I breathed three times, the second four, the third seven. The fourth time, I inhaled and exhaled about nine times.
I have no idea why this should have worked. But it did. Every time. Next time you feel an acid reflux attack coming on, give it a try.
Worst case, it wont work and you can pop an antacid as usual.
There are many approaches to yoga and heartburn on the Internet. Although I did a form of yoga over forty years ago, most of what Ive looked at is more yoga than I feel like doing these days. That doesnt mean you cant try them. It would be best to join a yoga group and get proper instruction.
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.
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A Very Useful Chemical
Like the myriad of other processes that occur in the amazing human body, hydrochloric acid production and action generally occur as required and without our awareness. The chemical is very useful in our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes people are aware of the effects of too much or too little acid in the stomach. Luckily, methods to relieve or help these conditions exist, although a doctor’s aid is generally required.
Whats The Difference Between Dyspepsia And Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid. The valve between the esophagus and the stomach is designed to allow food and liquid to pass downward from the esophagus into the stomach as well as to prevent the backwash of acid into the esophagus.
Occasionally, the valve relaxes and allows stomach acid to reflux backwards into the esophagus. The acid stimulates nerve endings in the esophagus and causes the symptoms commonly referred to as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease . GERD can be associated with a burning sensation in the chest, belching, a bitter taste in our mouth, coughing and wheezing.
Dyspepsia is a term reserved for the symptoms we might think of as a sour stomach, slight nausea or an upset stomach. These symptoms dont result from acid splashing back into the esophagus as in heartburn. The symptoms of dyspepsia are from an abnormal accumulation of acid in the stomach. The acid accumulates because it is not being emptied normally, not because our stomach is producing too much.
To review, the symptoms of GERD are from stomach acid splashing backwards into the esophagus and dyspepsia is from too much acid accumulating in the stomach.
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