What is acid reflux? Simply put we have a valve called the LES, this valve is what our bodies use to separate the contents of our stomach from our esophagus.
When this valve is doing its job properly and functioning fine, it shuts, thereby stopping stomach acid from moving into the esophagus. However when this valve doesn’t close as it should, then the acid within our stomachs can reach up into our esophagus, thus causing said acid reflux.
Something to be aware of too if you’re experiencing this as a common occurrence i.e. every other day. Then you may also be suffering from acid reflux disease, also known as GERD. This is your cue to then visit the Doctor!
The most common side effect from include a burning sensation called Heartburn. This normally represents itself in a burning sensation rising from the stomach to the throat; this is sometimes accompanied by the acid reaching into the back of the throat too.
Other common symptoms are burps that won’t let up, a feeling of being bloated, and a general feeling of sickness and nausea. In more severe cases, you may experience bloody stools whilst visiting the toilet, and blood within the vomit while throwing up.
- There are a variety of causes that may be causing you to suffer from acid reflux a hiatial hernia being one of the more common ones. This is where the stomach moves away from the diaphragm, sometimes causing the stomach acid to rise to the esophagus.
- Other causes are as a simple as your diet, eating meals that are too large, particularly before bedtime. Eating a large amount of spicy foods on a regular basis may also be a cause of common aggravation.
- Recent case studies have also shown smoking to be a common perpetrator.
- An overzealous consumption of alcohol is also a common cause, something to be looked at if you like a good tipple now and again.
- Certain medications also play a part. This is something to discuss with your Doctor, particularly if you’re taking medication for blood pressure.
- Pregnant women are also often susceptible, acid reflux, is a very common symptom during pregnancy. This is mainly due to hormones slowing the digestive system and relaxing the LES valve discussed earlier.
There is no real diet per-say as is in the conventional sense of the word. It’s more like you making lifestyle decisions that will help keep regular attacks at bay. For instance, you probably didn’t know that Italians suffer far less than their European counterparts, and only a quarter of Italians on average suffer as much as those from the US.
Italians also generally eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, rather than the larger portions we are used to here in the US. Large meals are also a common known trigger. Their meals also normally consist of at least a side serving of vegetables, and fruits are frequently considered a dessert.
Clearly Italians suffering less is no coincidence. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle is something you should try to reinforce in your everyday lives as whole anyway.
I’ll briefly cover some home remedies you may use as a stop gap alternative before visiting your Doctor.
You’ve possibly heard or chewing gum being used on a regular basis as quick relief from reflux, you’ve probably wondered why too. The reason why gum helps sufferers is chewing gum produces saliva, which acts as a natural acid buffer. Obviously chewing gum can’t be a long term cure and should only be used as a quick relief. That’s of course if you value your teeth.
Smokers have been shown by recent research to be more at risk than non-smokers, and as a percentage suffer more frequent attacks. This is partly due to the effect of smoking on saliva, and the increase of stomach acid due to smoking.
Smokers produce smaller amounts of saliva than non-smokers, and this neutralizes the effect of saliva to neutralize excess stomach acid. Smoking in turn also produces more stomach acid, this with the effect of less saliva, leaves a smoker more open to frequent attacks of GERD.
Apples, fresh fruit and vegetables
Apples and apple cider vinegar have long been a so called Granny cure for reflux. Most sufferers swear by it, citing instant pain relief as an immediate benefit, whilst only needing to eat a few slices.
Fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy lifestyle have also been seen to help sufferers. Making sure you get your five a day (include an apple) will go a long way as part of prevention against reflux attacks.
There are other menial things you can do too. Such as cutting down or eliminating alcohol and coffee. Coffee and alcohol have long been identified as triggers.
I hope this article has been of some use to you in your battle against acid reflux, keep in mind I’m more than happy to share these articles on Facebook, Twitter etc., if you feel they will be of benefit to others you may know.