What is Acid Reflux and Heartburn?

Acid Reflux happens to be a condition where acid from the stomach flows back into the oesophagus. Even though, it is quite common in healthy adults, children and infants but, repetitive acid reflux can damage the oesophagus.

The uncomfortable, burning and warm sensation within the chest just at the back of the sternum is generally referred to as heartburn. After starting from the chest, the pain slowly moves to the throat, neck and jaw area causing extreme discomfort and uneasiness. The condition starts occurring usually after a meal.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Acid Reflux and Heartburn?

Symptoms of Acid reflux

Heartburn

Heartburn is a common symptom associated with acid reflux. Burning, painful sensation resulting from stomach acid causes pain in the chest at the back of the chest bone as well as mid-abdomen.

Heartburn

Bitter Taste

There are times when the acid from the stomach gets to the throat which can lead to a bitter, icky taste in the mouth. In severe cases, it can also lead to choking.

Hoarseness

When acid from the stomach seeps into the oesophagus, the vocal chords can get irritated. As a result of that, the voice of a person can get a bit huskier.

Cough

It has been observed many times that wheezing and chronic cough results from stomach acid which gets into the lungs.

Sore Throat

If there is a tendency of throat ache especially after meals then, it might be caused by stomach acid.

Symptoms of Heartburn

Difficulty Swallowing

People with heartburn problem might find it difficult to swallow food as it cannot pass normally through oesophagus into the stomach. A burning feeling or choking or chest pressure might be experienced.

Chest Pain

The affected person might experience chest pain while eating, lying down or bending over.

Chronic Coughing

Heartburn can cause chronic coughing even in patients who do not smoke. When stomach acid gets to the oesophagus, the affected person might experience severe coughing.

Burning Sensation

Salty tasting or sour, hot acidic fluid behind the throat can lead to burning sensation in the entire area.

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Heartburn

Improper Functioning of LES

Lower Oesophageal sphincter or LES situated towards the oesophagus’s end acts like some valve which opens up to allow liquids and food to get to the stomach. After the liquids and food have passed, it closes which helps with the prevention of acids and contents from stomach to enter the oesophagus. When there are some problems associated with the valve like physical abnormality, weak muscle or loss of tone, resulting stomach acids can flow back into oesophagus leading to nausea and heartburn.

Food Items

There are specific beverages and food which can lead to acid reflux. Acid reflux can be triggered by:

  • Fried, fatty and spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Carbonated beverages and caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • Orange juice

Hiatal Hernia

The Hiatus happens to be a small opening through which oesophagus protrudes into stomach. When the Hiatus gets enlarged or weakened, muscles of the stomach can get into chest passing through diaphragm which ultimately leads to the creation of Hiatus hernia. The disorder is also considered as a major cause behind acid reflux.

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux and Heartburn

Baking Soda

Baking soda also known by the name sodium bi-carbonate helps to neutralize the acid of the stomach. People suffering from acid reflux can mix one teaspoon baking soda which shouldn’t be more than eight ounces with plain water. After stirring it, the whole mixture should be consumed. However, it is important to make sure that the remedy isn’t used for weeks at a stretch because of the high salt content of baking soda.

Chewing Gum

Studies have shown that people suffering from acid reflux disorder experienced relief after they chewed gum (sugar free) for about thirty minutes right after they had their meal. Chewing a gum helps with the stimulation of salivary glands which assists with increased saliva flow. Acids that built up within the gut gets diluted and cleared out or washed away with the saliva that is secreted from salivary glands. Symptoms associated with acid reflux gets improved drastically when the acids are cleared from the gut. Therefore, people with acid reflux symptoms should make it a point to pop in one gum (sugar free) after they are finished with their meals.

Aloe Juice

Aloe has exceptional properties which help with soothing of burns. More often than not, people associate aloe with sunburns but, it is capable of doing something more. Aloe can be used to get relief from acid reflux since it helps with inflammation reduction. When the stomach starts to get inflamed and irritated, or when the oesophagus gives a burning sensation, Aloe Vera can assist with calming down of the symptoms. People suffering from acid reflux can consume half cup aloe juice right before their meals. But, it should be kept in mind that it also acts as laxative so it is always advised to search for brands that have laxative component removed from it.

References

  • http://www.aciphex.com/acid-reflux-disease.aspx
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9151.php
  • http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/acid-reflux-symptoms#1
  • http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20529772_7,00.html
  • http://www.medicinenet.com/heartburn_reflux/page2.htm#heartburn_symptoms
  • http://heartburn.about.com/cs/heartburn101/a/hrtbrn_symptoms.htm
  • http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/causes?ref=tc#1
  • http://everydayroots.com/heartburn-remedies

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