Know the Cause and Prevent Acid Reflux
Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Innocent Yogo, Lynn and 5 others
Have you been experiencing the following symptoms after eating a big meal that was prepared for you? A burning sensation that feels it is working its way up to your throat area which then tastes like a bitter acid? Are you experiencing bloating, burping, and nausea? Then chances are you are experiencing acid reflux. We all have a tendency to have symptoms like these from time to time because of the foods we eat such as greasy or spicy foods. But if we experience these symptoms on a continual basis, then there is a reason for concern.
What exactly causes acid reflux? We all have a muscle before the opening of our stomach which is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter. This closes up as soon as food passes through it. If this muscle is not functioning properly, such as not closing the whole way as it should, then the result is that the acid from your stomach will travel up to the esophagus, which cause the burning sensation in your chest and throat area. What are some of the reasons why this occurs?
- 1 Symptoms of Acid Reflux
- 2 Causes
- 3 How Acid Reflux if Further Diagnosed
- 4 Prevention Tips
- 5 Throat closing up due to acid reflux
- 6 Questions and Answers
- 7 Tips
- 8 Comments
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
- 1Sudden chest pain. This happens because the acid from the stomach is reaching the esophagus. The sensation of pain spreads across the chest. The onset is usually sudden and the pain can last for quite a while. Some people even think that the pain is similar to that of heart attack and get so bothered by it that they seek for emergency treatment in the hospital.Advertisement
- 2Heartburn that is worsened when in lying position. The stomach acid further goes upwards towards the esophagus when in lying position, and so the pain associated with heartburn worsens. When this happens, some doctors advise that you elevate your pillow to relieve the pain. However, when the pain does not go away even after doing this, it's best to seek for immediate medical attention.Advertisement
- 3Bitter taste in the palate and tongue. Acid, when it re-fluxes, can go as far back up as the tongue and palate, therefore giving that bitter taste.
- 4Hoarseness of voice. This is similar to the quality of voice when you are just about to start a cough or cold or are recovering from it. Your voice suddenly becomes hoarse as if there's a phlegm that you need to cough out. The acid could be rather irritating to the vocal cords that's why the voice is affected.
- 5Sore throat. The throat feel sore, especially after meals, similar to how it feels when you are about to start a cold or cough. However, in a few days, when the other symptoms of cough or cold do not occur, it is more likely that you are experiencing sore throat due to acid reflux.
- 6Sudden onset of persistent cough. If you do not have the other symptoms of a full blown cough but suddenly has the urge to cough a lot, then it is more likely that acid has reached your lungs and irritates it. Sometimes, the cough could be that bad that it is almost like asthma.
- 7Nausea. This is easy to identify as a symptom of acid reflux if your stomach suddenly feels upset and you end up vomiting a transparent or mucous-like substance. That's more likely acid.
- 8Increased levels of saliva. If you feel that your mouth suddenly has more saliva than normal, then you know that your esophagus is trying to wash out something that irritates it. It is trying to balance out the increased level of acidity.
- 9Difficulty to swallow. Too much instances of acid reflux may cause some scar in the esophagus that lead to pain and difficulty to swallow food.
1. Being Overweight.
2. Snacking Before Bedtime.
3. Smoking. This can damage your muscle reflexes, and cause the lower esophageal muscle not to function properly.
4. Eating Certain Foods. Such as chocolate, spicy foods, or greasy foods.
5. Consuming Large Meals.
How Acid Reflux if Further Diagnosed
Although several of the symptoms of acid reflux may be attributed to other things or may be brushed off as nothing serious, it is still best to consult a doctor especially when instances of these symptoms occur quite often already.
The following are some of the tests that may be ordered by your doctor to be performed in case you are being suspected of experiencing acid reflux:
- Esophagram. This test checks for any ulcers that might occur in the esophagus which cause it to narrow down. You will be asked to swallow, at the beginning of the test, to swallow a particular solution to be able to reflect the esophageal structures during X-ray.
- Esophageal manometry. This explores how the esophagus functions especially the sphincter at the lower part of it. It looks into how loose the sphincter might be in a way that it already allows acid to go back up. It also examines the function of the esophageal muscles and see whether it is able to transport the food down to the stomach in the normal way.
- pH monitoring. This observes the level of acidity in your esophagus by installing a small device into the esophagus and leaving it there for a day or two.
- Endoscopy. A narrow tube with a camera at the tip is inserted from the mouth down to the throat to examine any problems with the esophagus and stomach. This will also see if there are any nodules or lumps along the way. In case lumps are found, a biopsy is usually ordered to look into possible abnormalities.
- Lose weight. Eat smaller portions of food. This will reduce acid reflux problems. More weight puts pressure on the stomach.
- Stay Away from Spicy, and Fatty Foods. Chocolate, garlic, onions, and tomato sauce.
- Switch from caffeine, to caffeine FREE drinks.
- Quit Smoking and Drinking Alcohol. This can irritate the heartburn.
- Avoid Lying Down After a Meal. This can cause the stomach acids to back up on you.
Throat closing up due to acid reflux
Have you ever felt like your throat is closing up? If you have been having acid reflux problems then this is a very common occurrence. Acid reflux not only causes the feeling of the throat closing up, but it also leads to infections that may be very harmful to your throat. It tightens up the vocal membranes of your throat making you feel like it is closing up. The acid reflux, if not treated properly, causes long term effects on throat.
The following are some of the long term effects of acid reflux on throat
- 1Esophageal cancer - This is a rare kind of throat cancer that is caused by severe acid reflux that has not been treated after a long period of time. It is necessary that you see a doctor when you realize that you are suffering from acid reflux. This will prevent any further effects of the problem on other parts of your body.
- 2Throat damage - Another effect of reflux acid is the damage of your larynx and throat, which will be exhibited through persistent coughing, nausea, vomiting, as well as choking. You need to visit a gastroenterologist early enough to examine the extent of the effects of acid reflux on your throat. Choking, vomiting and nausea may also cause the throat to close up.
- 3Esophagitis - This is an inflammation on the walls of the esophagus caused by frequent backup of stomach acid. If the acid reflux has been affecting you for a very long period of time, it results into the esophageal problem. The inflammation can also lead to throat closing.
- 4Respiratory infection- The acid in the stomach, if not treated effectively, can get into the lungs and affect them, hence infecting the respiratory system.
Questions and Answers
Can very spicy foods close your throat?
Spicy foods may not directly be the cause for closing of throat, although they may cause more acid in the stomach that will lead to acid reflux. This acid then irritates the throat.
Yes, the spices can cause your throat to swell up thus closing your throat from being able to fully functionally.
Would antacids solve acid reflux problems right away?
Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acids that are in excess of what is required. Stomach acids are important in the digestion of food and, therefore, they cannot be depleted completely. There are also certain antacids that contain simethicone, which is known to relieve the tummy from excess gas.
If you are diagnosed by a doctor to have acid reflux, it is likely that he will prescribe an antacid that you must take before meals. However, it is important to note that as simple as it may seem, it is not good to self-medicate. Doctors will often tell you how long you must drink the antacid and observe whether things improve. If it does improve, the doctor will ask you to stop drinking it. The reason for this is that too much use of antacids might deplete the stomach completely of acids, which are also necessary for proper digestion. Prolonged antacid intake is not recommended because the balance inside your stomach will be affected.
Antacids might work right away but it is up to your doctor how long he thinks your body might need them. In general, your doctor knows best.
Some antacids, like Tagament(cimetadine) are fast acting and will soothe quickly, while others like Zantac(Ranitidine) take time to build up and start working since they are more preventative. Now if you have damage from acid reflux, it could take a long time for it to heal. If you still hurt even after taking the medicine to stop the reflux, you may have damaged your esophagus/throat and should contact your doctor.
What lifestyle changes are best to do to resolve and then prevent acid reflux?
Acid reflux is partly caused by lifestyle, particularly stress and food choices. Slowing down a bit or doing things that help you to relax, can really be beneficial in addressing this issue. Being more mindful of what you eat, specifically avoiding food that is loaded with caffeine like coffee, soft drinks, and tea, could bring about immediate relief as well. Furthermore, it not only depends on the food you eat, but also how you eat. Rushing meals all the time or doing another thing while eating, especially anything stressful, can also lead to acid reflux.
You can start eating the following to treat and prevent acid reflux:
- Aloe Vera
- Salad (except tomatoes, onions, cheese and high fat dressings)
- roots and greens
- Couscous and rice
NOTE: eat them only in moderation.
Categories : Stomach
Recent edits by: Eng, Doug Collins, Christine dela Cruz