Have you ever heard of person suffering acid reflux? It is quiet common yet many don’t know exactly what is acid reflux. Essentially, Acid reflux is a medical condition in which stomach acid rises up into the esophagus because the valve (lower esophageal sphincter) that separates the stomach content and esophagus is defective. This valve is very important in preventing stomach acid from reaching esophagus, but once the valve if faulty, acid produced in stomach seeps upwards into esophagus.
Some of the symptoms of acid reflux include;
Regurgitation – after swallowing food, it gets back to the mouth. This may cause vomiting and nausea.
Heart burn-you feel a burning effect from the lower chest to the neck region, you will also have chest pain which may last up to 10 minutes.
Dysphagia-you will have difficult in swallowing food.
Asthma- the acid rises into the throat, mouth and air passage causing difficulty in breathing
Hoarseness- you will experience difficult in speaking, when you speak, your voice may not also be clear.
Inadequate digestive enzyme will make food to remain in stomach for long period causing accumulation of acid in the stomach.
Some of the common causes of acid reflux include;
Hiatus hernia – this is a condition in which the upper part of stomach protrudes into chest, this is common if there is opening in the diaphragm. This can caused by excessive coughing and vomiting.
Pregnancy- during last months of pregnancy, a growing baby may press on stomach content into esophagus, this will cause acid reflux.
Excessive eating and poor eating habits. Large meals coupled with poor eating habits such as sleeping immediately after meal are common causes.
Smoking and alcohol. Smoking causes low levels of bicarbonates in the saliva thus there is poor neutralization of acid, promotes production of excess stomach and weakens esophageal sphincter. Reviews as shown that people who quite or reduce alcohol consumption significantly improves their symptoms.
Doctor will make diagnosis based on the symptoms but some test such as Barium swallow, esophageal manometry, pH monitoring and endoscopy may be done.
What is acid reflux treatments? It can be treated by use of proper diet, avoid foods and drinks that causes heart burn, such food and drinks include; Alcohol, Black pepper, Chili and chili powder, Citrus fruit, pineapple, coffee, garlic, spicy food, tea, tomato sauce, tomato juice and vinegar. Medication is by use of medicines such as uses of proton pumps inhibitors such as omeprazole, antacid and acid suppressants are usually prescribed for persistent cases.