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is Acid Reflux?
This condition is simply a chronic heartburn. GERD occurs
when the sphincter (a ring of muscle) which acts as a valve
between your esophagus and your stomach, does not close properly,
allowing stomach acids to flow back (or reflux) into your
The problem is that your esophagus is really not designed
to handle the gastric acids that your stomach has to produce
in order to digest food properly. The tissues are far softer
and more sensitive that stomach tissues.
So when refluxed stomach acid comes into contact with the
lining of your esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in
your chest or throat - this sensation is what we know as heartburn.
What are the symptoms?
The 2 most common symptoms of acid reflux or GERD are;
- persistent heartburn and;
- acid regurgitation.
Some people may not get the symptom of heartburn. Instead,
they may experience other symptoms like;
- pain in the chest,
- hoarseness in the morning, or
- trouble swallowing
- dry cough
- bad breath.
GERD can also make you feel like you have food stuck in
your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight.
What causes Acid Reflux?
No one knows exactly why people get GERD, but it is a sure
sign that your stomach is producing too much acid. GERD affects
many people who have ulcers. If a hiatal hernia is present,
it can also cause reflux. Hiatal hernias can present in people
of any age; and many healthy people over 50 may have a small
Other factors that may contribute to acid reflux include;
- excessive alcohol use
- being overweight
Certain foods can be associated with reflux events, including;
- citrus fruits
- drinks with caffeine
- fatty and fried foods
- garlic and onions
- mint flavorings
- spicy foods
- tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, chili, and
What are the long-term
complications of GERD?
Sometimes GERD can cause serious complications. Inflammation
of the esophagus from stomach acid causes bleeding or esophageal
ulcers. In addition, scars from tissue damage can narrow
the esophagus and make swallowing difficult.
Some people develop Barrett's esophagus, where cells in the
esophageal lining take on an abnormal shape and color, which
over time can lead to cancer. Also, studies have shown that
asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis may be aggravated
or even caused by GERD.
Points to Remember
- Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, is the most
common symptom of GERD. Anyone experiencing heartburn twice
a week or more may have GERD.
- You can have GERD without having heartburn. Your symptoms
could be excessive clearing of the throat, problems swallowing,
the feeling that food is stuck in your throat, burning in
the mouth, or pain in the chest.
- In infants and children, GERD may cause repeated vomiting,
coughing, and other respiratory problems. Most babies grow
out of GERD by their first birthday.
- Doctors usually recommend medication
as well as lifestyle and dietary changes to relieve heartburn.
- We recommend that if you have been using antacids for
more than 2 weeks, it is time to dump them and
take a natural alternative that will relieve your acid
reflux symptoms without any harmful side effects.
from Acid Reflux to