What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux, also referred to as GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease, which is the more severe form of acid reflux), is an unpleasant and sometimes painful condition that occurs when stomach acid and other stomach materials return to the esophagus, creating an uncomfortable, burning sensation and sometimes causing permanent damage to the lining of the esophagus.
Most of the time, stomach food stays in the lower part of the esophagus during acid reflux, where it can cause nausea and heartburn. The stomach materials do seldom reflux all the way into the mouth. And when that happens, the acid can cause your throat to feel burning, and inside your mouth, you will find small, undigested bits of food.
What triggers acid reflux?
In general, a defective lower esophageal sphincter is responsible for the acid reflux. The esophageal sphincter is a strong muscle ring that surrounds the bottom of the esophagus. When food is ingested, the sphincter contracts vigorously to push the food into the stomach.
Acid reflux happens when the sphincter is not strong enough to force the food into the stomach or when the sphincter is not active.
Most acid reflux-related culprits is made of a hiatal hernia and a “severe” or “slow” esophagus not contracting strongly enough to force the food into the stomach in a timely manner.
Common symptoms of reflux
There are several potential signs of acid reflux. The frequency and symptom severity can vary from rare to regular, and from mild to extreme.
One of the most important signs of acid reflux disorder is a burning feeling in the chest that arises after food intake. This feeling can last a couple of hours, and get worse if you lie down after eating.
The burning may also move up into the area of the throat, and a sour taste can appear in the mouth.
As a result of this, the person sometimes develops a cough or becomes hoarse.
If no care is obtained to the point that the larynx is weakened, respiratory problems will occur, scar tissue will build up in the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow, and medical treatment may be necessary to avoid further damage.
Want to know more? Read our article about acid reflux symptoms!
Acid reflux diet
- Have small meals: Eat a few small meals a day instead of three large ones. The more food needs to be digested, the greater amount of stomach acid is required.
- Avoid sugar: There are many disadvantages of too much sugar intake. The increased chance of reflux symptoms is one of them. If you experience chest pain after eating high-sugar foods, you should consider trying a low-sugar diet to see if it helps your symptoms.
- Avoid fat: Fatty foods are producing more acid, which can lead to increased symptoms of acid reflux disease.
- Avoid fast foods: Almost all fast foods are high in fat or sugar or both…
- Mind what you drink: Some drinks can contain a lot of sugar or can be high in citrus. Both can increase stomach acid. Even drinks like coffee or alcohol can make reflux symptoms worse. Check out our article about chest pain after drinking!
When you’re not sure what foods can impact you, then it’s time for you to do some testing.
You can do this simply by keeping a record of what you consume during the day; after a week of doing so, you will know which foods to avoid.
To learn more, read our article about acid reflux diet!