Do You Have Acid Reflux?
|May 17, 2012||Posted by healthsmartmom under Acid Reflux Remedies, Diet and Exercise|
Nearly all of us have heartburn at one time or another and end up reaching for the usual heartburn home remedies. The first sign may be that all too familiar burning in the chest and it may be joined by a bitter taste in the mouth. For most, we can pop an antacid or two and be done with it. However, other people will find that acid reflux is occurring regularly – perhaps twice a week or more. When heartburn becomes a regular problem, it is known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux. Acid reflux by itself is not serious, but frequent bouts over long periods of time can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus and throat. Because of this, it is critical to find proper remedies for heartburn to keep the acid at bay.
Why does Heartburn Occur?
To spare you all the biology, here are the basics: When you eat, food travels from the mouth, through the esophagus and into the stomach. In the stomach, digestive acids will break the food down so that nutrients can be absorbed into the body from the intestines and waste can be removed. At the bottom of the esophagus, there is a round ring that is referred to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is responsible for closing the doorway between the esophagus and the stomach once the food passes through. When the LES doesn’t close properly, food particles and digestive juices can regress back up into the esophagus. Since the esophageal lining is not designed to handle the corrosive acids, burning and discomfort can happen. Frequent bouts of improper LES closing results in acid reflux, and often requires treatment to protect the LES lining.
How is GERD Treated?
The most basic way to treat GERD is with an over the counter antacid that will work quickly and effectively. However, due to the nature of acid reflux, you may require a different type of medication that will either treat the heartburn for a longer period of time or prevent it from occurring in the first place. For longer relief, many people turn to H-2-receptor blockers like Tagamet and Pepcid. These medications actually reduce the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach to provide longer relief. Another option is a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec. These medicines will block the production of acid, giving the lining of the esophagus time to heal. However, they may also have side effects, so be sure to read the labels.
Acid reflux can be an uncomfortable condition that may cause damage if it is not managed carefully. There are many acid reflux home remedies available as well as some that require a prescription. If you suspect that you are suffering from GERD, talk to your doctor about your best options in treatment today.