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Do You Understand The Acid Reflux Basics ?

Dec 8, 2007
Chronic heartburn and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) affects roughly 15 million Americans each year. Acid reflux can arrive like a stranger in the night. Sufferers may wake up with a sharp, burning pain in the chest that extends up the neck and into the throat. They may have coughing fits or asthma attacks resulting from the inhalation of excess acid or they may feel tired during the day, with bitter morning mouth and a sore throat that never really becomes a full-blown cold.

Some heartburn remedies simply involve a change in habits. One cause of this malady is over-eating, which makes it a big problem around holidays. "The holiday season is clearly one of the worst times of the year for patients with GERD," says William Chey, M.D., a University of Michigan gastroenterologist.

"The large amounts of food we eat during the holidays, and the types of food served during the holidays - especially fatty and caffeinated foods - can be a recipe for disaster for chronic heartburn sufferers." When we eat large amounts of food, the stomach stretches and the Lower Esophageal Sphincter naturally relaxes. Instead of three big meals or one big meal, try eating smaller meals continuously throughout the day to keep acid production normalized.

If you're a chronic sufferer, there are some basic foods you should avoid as much as possible. Fatty, greasy food can be a big problem, since the stomach needs to produce more acid to break down these substances. You know where that excess acid winds up -- coming back up the esophagus!

Less obvious culprits are caffeine in drinks, ice cream and chocolate, which may also exacerbate heartburn acid reflux. Red wine is a frequent cause of heartburn too, as are spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spearmint and pepper.

The time of day and post-eating rituals have a significant impact on heartburn and acid reflux. Dr. William Chey adds, "Gravity actually serves as an important barrier for acid reflux during the day. So when you lie down at night after eating a meal, you no longer have that gravity barrier to prevent acid reflux."

It's recommended that you try to remain relatively upright for two or three hours after eating. People who try lifting and bending immediately after eating a big meal typically have trouble with too. Avoid tight clothing that may worsen symptoms. Smoking also causes the esophagus valve to relax.

Acid reflux is a sneaky disease that comes on suddenly and requires immediate relief. Keeping some over-the-counter products like Alkaseltzer, Tums, Pepcid AC or Maalox in the cabinet can usually treat the average heartburn symptoms. However, chronic sufferers should see their doctor and look into Prilosec or Nexium for stronger treatment.

There is a lot of research that can be found online at WebMD.com to help people gauge which medications are safe for them. However, often times, trial and error reveals the best treatment.

Acid reflux can be so uncomfortable that some people go to the hospital, fearing heart failure. Others believe they may have food poisoning, asthma, a sleeping disorder or they have developed lactose intolerance. Isn't it comforting to know that it may just be a little bit of heartburn that can be treated with a number of over-the-counter medications?
About the Author
Educate yourself further about acid reflux from Mike Selvon articles portal. Your feedback is valued and appreciated at our acid reflux treatment blog where a free audio gift awaits you.
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