How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
Easy Ways To Rid Yourself Of Acid Reflux
With all the food-centered traditions surrounding the holiday season, people tend to experience more symptoms of acid reflux during that time of year. You can lessen or prevent heartburn symptoms if you learn some simple strategies and stick to them, no matter the time of year.
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Cut Out Smoking And Avoid Passive Inhalation Of Cigarette Smoke
Yes, another thing smoking is really bad for! Nicotine in cigarettes relaxes the muscles in the lower part of the esophagus, and as such is less likely to keep stomach acid at bay inside your stomach, causing the reflux.
As such, steer clear of smoking, and avoid being near others smoking as passive inhalation can have the same effect.
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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A Systemic Problem Needs A Systemic Solution
Its a systemic problem affecting the whole body, and as such it can only be effectively neutralized with a systemic approach that takes into account everything from diet to sleeping habits to weight to posture and more.
If you want to be rid of this bothersome condition, we suggest using a combination of the remedies described above for optimal relief.
Do you have any experience treating your acid reflux with natural remedies? If so, please leave a comment and tell us about it. We would love to know more about what works for you.
Eat Smaller Meals Slower And More Often
If youre eating three square meals a day and have heartburn, you might want to mix things up. Too much food at too few sittings may be contributing to your discomfort. Instead, eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day, chewing slowly and thoroughly to maximize digestion. When the stomach is too full or the food is too fatty, the esophageal valve opens and food and acid move from the stomach back up toward your throat, leading to heartburn, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Meals that are more than 500 calories cause more reflux than lower-calorie meals, says Dr. Gabbard, and foods that contain more than 10 to 15 grams of fat tend to increase the amount of heartburn.
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Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages
Patients with GERD are sometimes advised to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.
One observational study found that carbonated soft drinks were associated with increased acid reflux symptoms .
Also, controlled studies show that drinking carbonated water or cola temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, compared to drinking plain water .
The main reason is the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages, which causes people to belch more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .
Carbonated beverages temporarily increase the frequency of belching, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.
Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd
GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.
- Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
- LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.
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Be Careful What You Drink
Alcohol, coffee and whole milk can all lead to heartburn, as can peppermint tea. Sodas and carbonated drinks may relax the LES and make your stomach acid more acidic, increasing your risk of heartburn. Highly acidic citrus juices such as orange and grapefruit can also cause acid reflux and heartburn in some people.xiii
Natural Remedy: Use Baking Soda
You may find relief from infrequent heartburn with sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. Simply mix ½ teaspoon with four ounces of water to help neutralize the acid. Note this contains sodium and should not be used if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions drugs, are pregnant or have a chronic health condition before using baking soda to relieve heartburn.
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Below Are The Eight Steps That Work For Me
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and this information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition. Rather its a reflection of what I have learned on my journey to heal my body. Never stop taking medication without consulting your doctor, as there can be negative side effects to doing so. If you have concerns about a particular health concern, including gastroesophageal reflux disease , I highly recommend seeing a health care provider who understands that there are and is open to trying alternative approaches to treating reflux. Ive shared my full list of links and recommended providers here but have also embedded links below:
1) Chew Your Food & SLOW Down
This might seem simple, but most of us dont do it! Enzymes in our mouth help us start the digestive process. If we inhale our food, we bypass that step, which makes our stomach work harder to break down our food.
2) Drink Water BEFORE Not During Meals
When we drink liquid during a meal, we can dilute our stomach acid and fill up our stomachs too much, which can put pressure on the LES . The LES is the muscle that prevents food from going back up our esophagus. Drinking room temperature water 10-15 minutes before a meal and only sipping water or warm tea as needed during a meal has helped me. When we chew our food thoroughly, we dont need as much liquid to wash it down.
3) Eliminate Trigger Foods.
Marshmallow Can Heal Heartburn
The very popular herb marshmallow contains a mucilage property that helps coat your esophagus and stomach lining. This creates a protective barrier against stomach acid and you get rid of heartburn. What more, marshmallow can even repair the damage done to your food pipe and stomach lining by excessive acid.Make Marshmallow Infusion for Heartburn
- In the morning, drink this thick herbal infusion which would taste bitter-sweet.
Precaution: If you are taking some medication, consult your doctor before using any herb.
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Foods That Alleviate Heartburn
Many people experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux. Heartburn is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, and itâs often caused by what you eat. Thankfully, there are certain foods that are known to reduce or relieve heartburn.
Keep reading for eight foods that can improve and ease your heartburn.
Say No To And Try Next Foods
Avoid certain foods that may cause acid reflux and heartburn: chocolate, mint, caffeine, fatty foods, fried dishes, carbonated drinks, smoked meat. All these foods reduce pressure in the sphincter causing its symptoms.
Try instead: vegetable soups, ripe bananas, almonds, fermented dairy products with less fat, boiled, roasted or steamed meat, plain water, cooked vegetables , toast, croutons, wholemeal crackers.
Raw almonds are alkaline, and they will help gain back the pH balance. They are also an excellent calcium source. Eat 5-10 almonds/day for best results. Eat a lot of greens that contain chlorophyll. These also have an alkaline effect on the body. Bananas have an immediate heartburn-soothing effect because they contain starch. Fermented drinks, like natural yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut juice bring many benefits to your digestive system. Blueberries have the power to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the stomach. Therefore, a handful of blueberries per day will help you heal your heartburn and digestive system.
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Home Remedies For Acid Reflux
Frequent and severe bouts of acid reflux require medical treatment. If you experience only mild symptoms, you can try some natural home remedies to get relief. If the problem occurs more than twice in a week, then you should consult your doctor.
1. Chamomile Tea
Sometimes an attack of acid reflux is caused by stress or anxiety. Chamomile tea has been documented to significantly reduce such symptoms. Also it has mild anti-inflammatory and alkaline properties, which can directly help in easing the symptoms of acid reflux.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water.
- Drink it 30 minutes before eating a meal.
- Do this on a regular basis, at least for a few months.
3. Aloe Vera
Take at least 2 ounces of non-processed aloe vera on a daily basis. This wonder plant has been known to significantly reduce inflammations in the stomach.
- Just remember not to take too much Aloe Vera because it can produce a laxative effect.
Bananas are rich in potassium, which when mixed with saliva and other digestive juices can produce a very strong alkali, which would then neutralize the excess acid. It also stimulates the production of stomach mucus, which protects the stomach from the harmful effects of stomach acids. Make bananas an integral part of your diet.
5. Baking Soda
6. Chewing Gum
How A Doctor Can Help
If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.
GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.
The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center
GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.
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Let Your Stomach Loose
Tight waistbands or belts that dig into your stomach place unnecessary pressure on your abdomen.x Swallowing an antacid and undoing the button of your pants or taking your belt down a notch or two after eating will provide instant relief. Maintaining a healthy weight is, however, a better long-term solution.
Foods And Drink That Trigger Gerd/ Heartburn Include:
- Black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods.
- Citrus fruits and products, such as lemons, oranges, and orange juice.
- Acidic foods such as tomato sauce
Acid Reflux is a common disease that is seen in every second person. Our lifestyle compels us to have wrong eating habits, and hence this affects our digestive system causing acid reflux.
Using conventional medicines for treating acid reflux is again not a very suitable solution because by doing so we add more chemicals into our systems which can lead to another health problem.
According to the recent research carried out at the Methodist Hospital, Houston, acid reflux drug may cause heart disease. So care must be taken when using those drugs at medicine store.
Therefore, the question is how to get rid of acid reflux naturally with little or no side effects. Here are the few top 10 home remedies that will help you get rid of Acid Reflux easily.
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Cold Milk Does Milk Help Acid Reflux
When you have an acid reflux, you can try taking a small amount of cold milk and try to keep sipping it.
Sipping the cold milk will keep down the acidity or the Acid Reflux in the stomach.
Milk has the properties to lower the acids that are prepared in the stomach.
If you have a regular problem of acidity, then you can also try drinking a glass of cold milk every night before going to sleep.
What Exactly Is Heartburn
Well, it all started when your teenage got over, a stressful lifestyle took over and your metabolism started falling and your digestive system was not strong and fast enough to break the spicy, fatty food down. Acid reflux or heartburn or GERD is a common problem that around 60% of the American population suffers from. And, we all know it is so not good.
Heartburn is actually the irritating, burning pain you feel in your throat and the congestion you experience in your chest right after a hiccup. Heartburn happens when acid in the stomach backs up into the food pipe and then to the throat. As gross and unpleasant it may sound, heartburn brings with it the contents of the stomach all the way up your throat.
As an adult, we all might have suffered from a heartburn at least once in our lives and are well aware of the over the counter prescriptions that are available to our rescue. However, instead of running errands to buy these prescriptions every now and then, you could find some quick alternatives to relieve you of the burn at home itself.
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Use Carom Seeds To Relieve Heartburn
Carom seeds or ajwain as they are known in India is an age-old remedy for heartburn and other gastric problems. It is one of the finest Ayurvedic remedies for heartburn and gas. Carom seeds have anti-acidic properties and thus act as natural antacids. Thymol present in carom seeds act against acidity and gives you relief from heartburn. It also soothes the mucous membrane of your stomach.
Ways to Use Carom Seeds for Heartburn
What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
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