Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus, a muscular tube that joins your throat and stomach. The most frequent symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which is a burning sensation in your chest. Also, repeated meal taste in the back of your mouth is another symptom.
Acid reflux is often referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if you have it more than twice a week. GERD symptoms include difficulty swallowing, coughing or breathing and chest pain, in addition to severe heartburn.
Discover how you can prevent this disease. You may find relief through lifestyle modifications, medication, or surgery.
Acid Reflux and Heartburn Risk Factors
Acid reflux and heartburn can affect any time. You might notice them if you eat a lot of spicy food or high-fat foods.
You are more likely to get GERD if you:
- have diabetes
- have overweight or obese
- are pregnant
According to Jacqueline L. Wolf, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “People who induce vomiting, or have in the past, can have an increased risk of heartburn.”
You can prevent mild cases of GERD by adopting a few lifestyle changes which include:
- After a meal, avoid resting down for three hours.
- Eat fewer meals more frequently throughout the day.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to lower pressure on your abdomen.
- Lose excess weight.
- Quit smoking.
- Place wooden blocks under your bedposts to raise the head of your bed by six to eight inches. Another option for doing this is to use bed risers.
Heartburn can be caused by a variety of foods. Take note of how you feel after consuming various foods. They could be:
- fatty or fried foods
- carbonated beverages, such as soda
- citrus fruits
- tomato sauce
However, avoid some foods if you develop heartburn after eating them.
Symptoms can be relieved by making lifestyle modifications. Others may need drugs to prevent or treat acid reflux and heartburn. Your doctor may advise you to take drugs like:
- antacids, such as calcium carbonate (Tums)
- H2-receptor blockers, such as famotidine (Pepcid AC) or cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
- mucosal protectants, such as sucralfate (Carafate)
- proton pump inhibitors, such as rabeprazole (Aciphex), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), and esomeprazole (Nexium)