Acid reflux is a condition that causes the contents from your stomach to move up into your oesophagus. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have a condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD). The studies conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests that GORD affects approximately twenty percent of people in the United States. GORD, if left untreated can cause serious complications.
Causes of Acid Reflux
Under normal conditions, the lower oesophageal sphincter relaxes and opens when you swallow, which again tightens and closes when you have swallowed the food. Acid reflux happens when the lower oesophageal sphincter does not tighten or close properly. This causes the contents from your stomach to rise up into your oesophagus.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Individuals suffering from acid reflux often experience an uncomfortable burning sensation in their chest which radiates up toward your neck. If you have acid reflux, you might develop a bitter or sour taste at the back of your mouth. In some cases, GORD can also cause difficulty while swallowing and can lead to breathing problems like a chronic cough. Some of the symptoms of acid reflux are mentioned below:
- Dry Cough
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss, etc.
No one likes the hot burning sensation in the throat, putting pressure on the chest. If you suffer from acid reflux, you would be already aware of how uncomfortable and disruptive it is. A leading gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, author of “The Acid Reflux Solution” says that heartburn drugs do more harm than good by increasing the likelihood of contracting pneumonia and the risk of intestinal infections. In this post, we will be giving you several easy ways to alleviate heartburn symptoms without swallowing a pill.
Chewing gum– According to the study conducted by the Journal of Dental Research, chewing sugar-free gum for at least thirty minutes after eating can give relief from acid reflux symptoms. This is because chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands, which increases the production of saliva. The saliva helps wash away any acid that might be causing you trouble.
Ginger Tea- Ginger tea is extremely beneficial for various stomach ailments including chronic acid reflux. Boil small slices of ginger roots in water for a few minutes. To reap the maximum benefits, it is advisable to drink this tea before a meal. This highly effective home remedy works wonders to relieve GORD symptoms.
Limit Alcohol Intake– Drinking too much alcohol can increase the chances of heartburn and acid reflux. It triggers the symptoms by increasing stomach acid and impairs the ability of the oesophagus to clear the acid itself. By limiting your alcohol intake, you can help ease the pain and discomfort related to acid reflux.
Limit Caffeine Intake- Drinking too much coffee can weaken the oesophageal sphincter, hence increasing the risk of acid reflux. The studies have suggested that coffee intake may worsen acid reflux. The intake of coffee had different consequences on different people. If you think coffee intake is worsening your condition, simply do not take it.
Avoid Raw Onions– Eating a meal containing raw onions can increase the likelihood of heartburn and acid reflux. The higher amounts of fermentable fibre contained in onions can irritate the lining of the oesophagus, hence worsening the condition. Eat meals that do not contain raw onions to keep your digestive system in good condition.
When You Should Visit a Gastroenterologist?
Despite following all the natural remedies mentioned below, you are not able to get relief from heartburn symptoms, you must make an appointment with a gastro specialist. Since a gastroenterologist is a digestive diseases specialist, he/she can guide you on the problems faced by you and the solutions for them. Make an appointment with a gastroenterologist immediately, if:
- Your heartburn symptoms have worsened
- You have experienced unexplained weight loss
- Your heartburn is causing you nausea or vomiting
- You have a chronic cough
- You have chronic wheezing or hoarseness
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is time to check in with a gastroenterologist who can evaluate your digestive health and offer you the right solutions. Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, abnormal bowel movement, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, trouble swallowing, etc. are all triggers for scheduling a consultation with a leading gastroenterologist.
When you visit a gastro specialist, give a detailed description of your symptoms to your doctor. Describe your diet that could be related to your symptoms. If you have a family history of digestive disease, be sure to tell your doctor about that as well. All these things are crucial for understanding the underlying causes of the problem and recommend necessary treatments for it.