Has it ever been that you consumed food, and after a while, felt a liquid come up from your throat that left you with a weird, burning sensation? This is Acid Reflux – a common condition, that can turn chronic if proper care is not ensured.
What is Acid Reflux?
To understand what Acid Reflux is, one needs to be aware of how food flows to our stomach after consumption.
After being consumed through the mouth, it flows down the esophagus, and a special valve – the gastroesophageal sphincter – leads it into the stomach. This valve is especially in place to prevent the food from flowing back up the esophagus.
Therefore, it is when this valve fails – that Acid Reflux occurs.
It could be that your ring of muscle (valve), the lower esophageal sphincter does not close completely once food has passed through or continues to open too often. Like a doorway to the esophagus, it thus lets the acid in your stomach move up your esophagus, causing an acid reflux.
What Does It Feel To Have An Acid Reflux?
If something coming back up your throat sounds like puking – that isn’t exactly what an acid reflux feels like.
An acid reflux consists of the stomach’s strong acids making their way back up your esophagus. This results in:
- A sour taste in your mouth
- Discomfort in the chest
- Feeling a lump in the throat
This is why, an acid reflux is also known as “Heartburn”; which ironically, has everything to do with the stomach and nothing to do with the heart.
The sour taste in the mouth can also lead to feelings of Nausea, constant burps, coughing, or vomiting.
Acid Reflux and GERD: Is there a difference?
While Acid Reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), there is but a thin line between the two. GERD is a more severe, and chronic form of acid reflux, in which heartburn occurs more than twice a week.
Causes of Acid Reflux
While the technical reason for an acid reflux is the failing of the gastroesophageal sphincter, that can happen to anybody; there are certain risk factors that can make you prone to experience acid reflux.
Can Foods Cause Acid Reflux?
It is not just aspects like smoking or medical conditions like Hiatal Hernia that make you more at risk to experiencing Acid Reflux. Some foods are also known to trigger the backflow:
Oily and Spicy Foods
Tea and Coffee
While certain foods can trigger the reflux, lifestyle and dietary choices such as eating a heavy meal and then immediately going to sleep or lying on your back can cause acid reflux.
What Can You Do About It?
To preventing acid reflux; simply reverse the causes.
This means, to put a stop on nicotine consumption, lessen the intake of alcohol, table salt, spicy foods, and caffeinated products, while indulging in physical activity to lose weight.
There are also some foods that can help prevent and relieve acid reflux. They include:
To prevent acid reflux, choose your foods and fruits wisely, and make sure you consume slowly, especially while sitting upright.
When To See the Doctor?
Considering acid reflux is a common condition, it can be prevented and treated accordingly. Some over-the-counter medicines like Antacids or H-2- Receptor Blockers can especially work to counter the effects of an acid reflux.
However, if the condition worsens, you experience frequent refluxes, have difficulty swallowing, or feel your acid reflux may be getting chronic and converting to GERD – see a doctor right away.