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How To Figure Out If You Have Low Stomach Acid
This isnt a replacement for a real diagnosis, but the burp test can give you an idea of what youre working with. Do this first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything.
People who make enough stomach acid generally burp within two to three minutes. If you went past that without burping, its time to open up the conversation with your doctor or nutritionist about low stomach acid. A doctor might follow up with a test involving an electronic pill that detects stomach acidity or with a test involving removing stomach contents with a gastric tube and testing acidity that way.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.
Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Factors that can lead to this include:
- Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
- Particular types of food and eating habits.
- Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
- A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.
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Make Ginger Tea To Relieve Heartburn
If you want to get rid of nausea accompanying your heartburn, just make a cup of fresh ginger root tea that will soothe your stomach and give you the much-wanted comfort. If nausea and heartburn become a regular feature of your life, you may also consider having a cup of fresh ginger tea before your meals. This helps your stomach in settling down as ginger acts as an acid buffer.
Consider Eating Less Chocolate
GERD patients are sometimes advised to avoid or limit their consumption of chocolate. However, the evidence for this recommendation is weak.
One small, uncontrolled study showed that consuming 4 ounces of chocolate syrup weakened the lower esophageal sphincter .
Another controlled study found that drinking a chocolate beverage increased the amount of acid in the esophagus, compared to a placebo .
Nevertheless, further studies are needed before any strong conclusions can be made about the effects of chocolate on reflux symptoms.
There is limited evidence that chocolate worsens reflux symptoms. A few studies suggest it might, but more research is needed.
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What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn
There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .
Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.
Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.
Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.
Stop Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Fortunately, you have several options for heartburn relief:
- Try eating smaller meals, and don’t eat two to three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid foods that may trigger heartburn, such as fried food, citrus, tomato, spices, peppermint, chocolate, and carbonated drinks.
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
- Stop smoking if you smoke.
- Lose weight if your doctor says you’re overweight.
- Cut back on aspirin and pain relievers if you take them often.
Talk with your pharmacist about other self-care tips you can use. If changing your style of eating isn’t enough, consider trying one of these heartburn medications.
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Learn About The Latest Treatments For Chronic Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Tasting your food once is great. Tasting it twice not so much.
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease , this may be your reality at every meal. But eating doesnt have to become a constant game of trying to balance eating what you want with avoiding reflux symptoms. With a few changes to your lifestyle and access to the latest medical treatment methods, you can finally put your GERD symptoms to rest.
Its easy to brush off reflux symptoms, especially if theyre mild but excessive GERD symptoms are something that should be taken seriously, explains Dr. Robert Purcell, a gastroenterologist at Geisinger Gastroenterology/Endoscopy Montoursville.
If your GERD symptoms are interfering with your daily life or drastically restricting what you can eat, talk with your doctor about treatment options.
What Causes Chronic Heartburn
Reflux is a protective function that prevents the stomach from overstretching. If you eat too much, the stomach releases pressure into the esophagus.
When this happens on a minor scale, its not a problem. However, some people are more prone to reflux than others – this can be due to an anatomical dysfunction.
There are different causes for reflux. One is a too weak lower esophageal sphincter . This is the valve that sits between the stomach and the esophagus.
In some people, this valve is simply not strong enough to perform its function effectively. It might have become damaged from decades of overeating.
Another cause can be a too tense pyloric sphincter . In that case, the pressure in your stomach will be higher than usual, which means you will get reflux more easily.
Either way, what it comes down to is that you need to be careful to avoid reflux triggers, or to fix the cause of your reflux.
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Cant Use Zantac Try These 5 Heartburn Remedies
May 7, 2020
Heartburn, a form of uncomfortable indigestion, affects millions of people every day, yet is largely preventable and treatable.
In April 2o20, the Food and Drug Administration called for retailers in the U.S. to pull the popular over-the-counter heartburn medication called Zantac from store shelves. Although Zantac has been used by millions of people for years in order to reduce acid reflux and heartburn symptoms, according to available research reviewed by the FDA, the drug may contain a probable human carcinogen.
Heres the good news: Not only are there other medications that can be safely be used in Zantacs place, but you can also benefit from simple natural heartburn remedies that often work quickly to correct the underlying causes of this digestive problem.
Chronic Bad Breath Symptoms
Since other people you interact with probably wont tell you that your breath smells like something crawled in it and died, its important to look out for certain symptoms that could let you know your breath isnt in good shape at the moment.
Some common symptoms of chronic bad breath include:
- Your breath always feels hot.
- You always seem to have dry mouth.
- Your tongue has a thin to thick white coating on it, especially at the back of your tongue.
- Your nose is usually stuffy.
- You often have symptoms of post nasal drip.
If you notice any of these chronic bad breath symptoms its a good idea to start taking action to fix the problem. The sooner you take action the sooner you can begin talking and interacting with other people with confidence.
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Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
Chest & Backpain Spasms Swallowing Problems
Next to heartburn, there are also indirect symptoms of reflux. Those symptoms are caused by reflux damaging the esophagus. As a result, this organ stops functioning the way it should.
How does it feel when the esophagus stops working properly?
One example is a feeling of squeezing and spasms in the chest. That feeling means that the esophageal muscles are contracting incorrectly.
Another indirect reflux symptom is chest pain. People might also describe it as back pain, as we do not always feel the pain at the point where it really originates.
Problems with swallowing are connected to reflux as well. When we swallow, we basically just shove food down our esophagus. However, food does not just fall into the stomach from there. Instead, the esophagus rhythmically contracts in a wave like manner to transport food down. Reflux damages that function and swallowing can become difficult.
However, only some patients experience these indirect symptoms.
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Try Eating Like French People
If you suffer from heartburn after meals, then a few mealtime changes can help. The French can take up to 2 hours to eat a meal that an American can gobble down in 5 minutes. Thats why according to Healthgrades, the USA is #1 for heartburn.
- Eat slowly
- Talk to people while you eat
- Take small bites
- Chew well
Taking food in large sizes and quantities will lead to heartburn. Sit and relax after a meal to help reduce the risk of suffering from heartburn.
Don’t Lie Down Too Soon After Eating
Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter , increasing the chances of refluxed food. Try these tips:
- Wait at least two to three hours after eating to go to bed.
- Avoid late-night snacking.
- If one of your meals ends up being larger than the others, aim to eat that meal for lunch instead of supper.
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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment
Patients at Johns Hopkins benefit from our unique multidisciplinary center, specializing in GERD and other reflux disorders. Specialists from different fields, including surgery, gastroenterology and ear, nose and throat, meet to talk about challenging reflux cases. We discuss the cases and create individualized treatment plans. Our high volume and advanced technology combined with expert specialists means you are getting the superior care you deserve.
Eating Bananas May Help To Settle Your Stomach
A portable healthy snack, bananas can sometimes aid in reducing the frequency of heartburn. Dr. Nusbaum told INSIDER that a bananas natural pH can help settle the stomach and he said he recommends them to those who suffer from acid reflux.
However, Dr. Nusbaum said about 1% of patients with acid reflux find that their condition is actually worsened by bananas. So before using bananas as your go-to solution to acid reflux symptoms, you may want to test how your body reacts to them first.
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Control Your Acid Reflux
If you have frequent acid reflux, that means you have acid reflux disease . The vast majority of patients with acid reflux disease respond well to daily acid suppressing medications, such as proton pump inhibitors.
It’s important to note, however, that while these medications effectively manage symptoms, they are not a cure. The heartburn pain will go away, but the backsplash of damaging fluid still occurs.
That’s because proton pump inhibitors can’t fix the underlying mechanical problem the dysfunction of the valve between the esophagus and stomach. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors can also cause significant side effects, and you must consider the lifetime cost of taking these medications.
For these reasons, surgery may be necessary to correct the valve mechanism, with the goal of eliminating the need for reflux medication. Advances in technology have improved doctors ability to tailor procedures to each individual patient, with greatly improved outcomes.
These techniques are performed through small or even no incisions, and serve to restore the valve mechanism between the esophagus and stomach to prevent acid reflux, explains Justin Karush, DO, a thoracic surgeon at Rush. Common procedures for GERD include laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, transoral incisionless fundoplication and magnetic sphincter augmentation .
Unproven Or Disproved Home Remedies
Fans of apple cider vinegar theorize that heartburn occurs because there isn’t enough stomach acid. They think taking apple cider vinegar brings the stomach acid level up, allowing the stomach to digest food properly and causing heartburn to subside. However, this is the opposite of what medical experts believe. Doctors recommend taking antacids and medications to reduce stomach acid and control acid reflux symptoms.
There are no published clinical trials that support using apple cider vinegar for heartburn, and one master’s degree thesis found no difference in using vinegar or a placebo for heartburn.
Taking apple cider vinegar undiluted could irritate your mouth and esophagus and erode your tooth enamel as it is very acidic. Dilute it with water if you plan to use it, such as 1-3 teaspoons of vinegar to a cup of water. Vinegar may interact with other medications you are taking at the same time. Instead of relieving heartburn, the vinegar may actually make it worse. If you are considering using apple cider vinegar as a treatment for heartburn, it is important that you talk to your doctor first.
Heartburn Doctor Discussion Guide
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How Is Severe Heartburn Treated If Over
When over-the-counter treatments don’t seem to help, talk to your doctor about using prescription-strength acid-suppressing therapies for a short period of time. Prescription-strength H2 blockers can reduce the amount of acid in the stomach while PPIs can block it altogether. However, PPIs are not without side effects, and it’s important to only take them for only short courses.
Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication
A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.
If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like youre having a heart attack.
Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.
If you’ve been having repeated episodes of heartburnor any other symptoms of acid refluxyou might try the following:
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Alter Your Current Position Or State
Sometimes, heartburn is minor and easily treated by making a minor adjustment or two to your current state. These adjustments take mere seconds and can often reduce or relieve heartburn symptoms significantly. Here are some of those changes to try!
· Straighten Up
The act of sitting or lying down can add to esophageal pressure, especially if youre slouched or curled up when doing so. You can easily relieve this by standing up straight.
· Loosen The Clothes Youre Wearing
Tight clothes can put pressure on the esophagus and lead to stomach gasses entering it. Loosening your clothing is a great way to relieve some of that pressure. Whether its taking off a belt, loosening your pants, or untying a dress or skirts ribbon, this can help you significantly!
· Raise Your Upper Body
As aforementioned, lying down can add to esophageal pressure. If you absolutely need to rest or lie down, though, make sure youre sleeping in a bit of an inclined position, with your upper body raised. An adjustable bed or wedge pillow is ideal, so consider investing in one if you deal with heartburn a lot.
What Are You Going To Do To Cure Your Heartburn
Are you simply going to treat the heartburn with short-term remedies or are you going to attack the real underlying problem that is driving your symptoms? I suspect that the larger long-term recommendations are a bit intimidating and you are not sure if you can make that type of commitment. You are not alone.
Here is an approach that may help you ease into building your path to relief and good health:
We know you can do this because so many others before you have succeeded. Dont delay, this is your disease and its your quality of life that is at risk. You can do this!
This article is from Reflux MD
Medical Resources Used for This Article