As our understanding of the human body deepens, several different conditions have been identified and closely studied by experts. Some of these conditions can be minor while some can pose a major health concern. All of these, however, can lead to reduced quality of life and wellness for most people, especially if the said medical condition can result in discomfort and limitations in terms of the accomplishment of various daily and routine activities. One such condition is known as acid reflux which can adversely affect the comfort level of individuals. So, how can people fight off and get rid of acid reflux? Read on and find out!
Acid Reflux: A Brief Backgrounder
A lot of people are affected by heartburn and acid reflux, millions. To address the said medical condition, people may resort to taking commercial medicines or they can also do some modifications to one’s lifestyle. Changing dietary habits. But what is acid reflux? Acid reflux occurs when the acid in the stomach moves up to the esophagus which is the part of the body that transports drink and food coming from the mouth and into the digestive system. Minor reflux is common and does no major harm to individuals and will usually have no symptoms present at all. However, when reflux happens frequently, the inside portion of the esophagus can be burned.
It is estimated, that up to twenty percent (20%) of adults in the United States (US) have experienced reflux in one way or another. One of the more common symptoms of acid reflux is the condition referred to as heartburn, which is often described, like a burning and painful feeling in the throat or chest. Experts also pegged the rate of Americans experiencing heartburn to be at around seven percent (7%).
Out of those who do have reflux regularly, roughly 20% to 40% have GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, a type of acid reflux that is more serious. In the United States (US), GERD is the most common type of disorder of the digestive system. On top of experiencing heartburn, the other symptoms of reflux are difficulty swallowing and a taste that is acidic at the back of the mouth. Other signs of reflux can include inflammation of the sinuses, erosion of the tooth, asthma, and cough.
Fast Relief from Acid Reflux
Listed below are some of the possible treatment and tips to get fast relief from acid reflux:
1. Avoid overeating
The esophageal sphincter is a muscle that is ring-like where the esophagus links into the stomach. It functions as a valve and aids in the prevention of acidic contents from traveling up into the esophagus. This sphincter will naturally open when individuals vomit, belch, or swallow. For people with reflux, this muscle is either dysfunctional or weakened. Reflux can also transpire if the muscles have too much pressure being applied to it resulting in acid penetrating the muscle’s opening. Not surprisingly, most of the symptoms of reflux happen right after eating. It was also observed that eating larger meals can lead to worse symptoms. As such, it is best to avoid overeating to minimize the symptoms of reflux.
2. Try losing some weight
Right above the stomach rests the diaphragm, which for healthy patients can help in the prevention of excess stomach acids from gaining access into the esophagus. For people with high levels of fat in the belly, the abdominal pressure can become too much that the esophageal lower portion gets an upward push and farther from the support of the diaphragm. This type of scenario is referred to as hiatus hernia, and the said condition is also the reason why pregnant and obese individuals are more prone to developing heartburn and reflux. There is also evidence to suggest that the excess weight or pounds in the area around the abdomen can lead to increased risk for GERD and reflux. Studies that are controlled also support this claim indicating that losing some weight can help in providing relief for patients suffering from the symptoms of reflux. As such, it is recommended that people lose weight if they regularly suffer from reflux or GERD.
3. Observe a diet that is low in carbs
There is data to support that diets that are low in carbs can help provide relief from the symptoms of acid reflux. Experts believe that undigested carbs can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and an elevation of the pressure within the abdomen. Some experts also theorize that this can be a major factor for reflux. Some studies support the claim that carb absorption and digestion that is impaired can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, which can lead to patients feeling bloated and gassy. This condition can also result in patients belching more frequently. Corollary to this theory is the fact that eating a low carb diet can improve the symptoms of acid reflux. It was also observed that takin some form of antibiotic may help reduce reflux, possibly through the reduction of gas-producing bacteria.
4. The intake of alcohol should be limited
Alcohol intake can lead to increased severity in terms of the symptoms experienced for heartburn and reflux. It worsens the symptoms of reflux by increasing the acid levels, encouraging the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, and reduce the ability of the esophagus to have acid cleared from it. Some studies show that moderate alcohol intake can already worsen the symptoms of acid reflux, even for healthy individuals. Some studies also noted that taking in beer or wine can lead to increased symptoms for reflux versus just drinking pure and plain water. As such, it is important that people who frequently experience heartburn to minimize their intake of alcohol to also limit the pain they may encounter during bouts of heartburn or reflux.