Acid reflux is a common condition that affects as many as 36% of all Americans. The common term for acid reflux is heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to remain closed and allows food from the stomach back into the esophagus. When undigested food in your stomach goes back up into the esophagus is called reflux. The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach.
Reflux of food is just one of the many acid reflux symptoms. Acid reflux is a lifelong condition and you should be aware of the symptoms and seek treatment for ongoing symptoms. Some of the more common acid reflux symptoms include a painful burning sensation that one gets in their chest after eating. This burning sensation is located behind the breastbone and is referred to as heartburn which is the result of stomach acid in the esophagus.
Regurgitation is another one of the acid reflux symptoms. This is when stomach acid backs up in your esophagus all the way up into your throat and mouth. Most people notice a bitter taste and may even experience small amounts of food particles coming back into their mouth. The person may also feel nauseous when this happens.
People who have had acid reflux for a long time may also develop dysphagia. Dysphagia is the term used for difficulty in swallowing. People who have developed this condition will feel like food is caught in the esophagus after swallowing. Another condition may develop called odynophagia. This condition means that swallowing food or liquids is so extremely painful that many people become afraid to eat.
Other acid reflux symptoms may include coughing. This is because of undigested food being inhaled into the lungs. Pneumonia can also be an acid reflux symptom. People who have acid reflux also experience irritated gums because of the acid. The result of stomach acid and regurgitation can also cause tooth decay. People who continually notice a tightness or burning sensation in the chest should seek medical attention for acid reflux. Having a hoarse voice, sinusitis and recurrent earaches may also be acid reflux symptoms. Advanced acid reflux symptoms are difficulty in swallowing, regurgitated blood, black stools and weight loss. If you ignore acid reflux symptoms it may result in a more serious medical problem like Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal ulcers and even cancer of the esophagus. It is important to treat the inflammation in the esophageal lining that results from acid reflux before these complications occur.
People with a hiatal hernia are prime candidates to suffer from acid reflux symptoms. Obesity, pregnancy and smoking may bring on acid reflux and its many symptoms. Certain foods can cause the symptoms to be worse. These foods include acidic foods like citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeine, fried foods, spicy foods and tomato based foods like pizza or chili.
People who are experiencing acid reflux symptoms have a wide range of treatment options. Over the counter remedies are available for mild heartburn. Antacids like Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums and Pepto bismol are used to neutralize the acid in the stomach for quick relief. Products containing H-2 receptor blockers like Tagament HB and Pepcid AC are used by many to bring about a reduction in stomach acids as well. Certain individuals may want to avoid the H-2 blockers because they can cause dry mouth, dizziness and bowel changes. Proton pump inhibitors can promote healing of the tissue in the esophagus because they block acid production altogether. If you are suffering from acid reflux symptoms you may also want to try natural remedies available in health food stores. Most doctors prescribe medication that is taken 30 minutes before eating to control acid reflux symptoms. It is important to be under a doctor’s care if you are experiencing prolonged acid reflux symptoms.
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