The Basic Facts About Acid Reflux

Whether you call it acid reflux disease, heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease what we are talking about are the uncomfortable feelings that happen when the acid that is in the stomach spills up into the esophagus in a repeated fashion, causing discomfort and perhaps damage to the esophagus. There are many reasons why acid reflux occurs including the foods we eat, our lifestyles and the medications we take among other things.

Certain foods and beverages can cause the lower esophageal sphincter muscles to relax such as alcohol, chocolate, foods high in fat, caffeinated foods and beverages, licorice and peppermint.

Medications can also contribute to acid reflux. Medications like diazepam, sumitriptan, calcium-channel blockers, and barbiturates can cause acid reflux.

Many lifestyle habits can cause acid reflux to become a problem such as being obese, drinking alcohol, smoking and making a habit of eating large meals and then lying down afterwards to take a nap only to awaken with heartburn.

The foods we eat, the medications we take and our lifestyles are triggers that set off the acid in our stomach to leave the stomach and come back up the esophagus. This poses a problem because the acid is supposed to stay in the stomach. The stomach can handle the effects of the acid but the esophagus is not designed to withstand the assault of the acid. This acid assault is what causes the painful burning sensation some refer to as heartburn because the sensations can center in the heart region of our upper chest.

Most of us can relate to at least one occasion where we have experienced acid reflux.

If the acid backs up into the esophagus repeatedly it can cause more than just discomfort, it can cause damage to the tissues and structures of the esophagus (erosive esophagitis.

How do you know if what you are feeling is acid reflux? A doctor can tell you for sure if what you are experiencing is acid reflux or not but if you are noticing any of the following:

A burning feeling that rises in your chest or a bitter or sour taste in your mouth, which may also include some difficulty breathing or swallowing; it may be acid reflux. Some individuals have an upset stomach; other experience what seems like a heart attack, others may have a persistent cough and yet still others may experience a hoarse voice.

You can stop or prevent acid reflux from happening when you visit your doctor, explain all your signs or symptoms and strive to lead an acid-free life, well, at least as acid reflux.

Correcting lifestyle factors so that your chance for having acid reflux lessens. Lifestyle changes that may contribute to acid reflux are wearing clothing that is tight or trying to fit into former clothing. You should quit smoking if you smoke and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Sometimes stress can cause acid reflux. It can also occur if you overeat and then lay down flat.

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