What does Acid Reflux Feel Like?

Acid reflux is a condition which occurs due to dysfunction of the lower sphincter muscles which results in the pushing of the stomach acid back into the esophagus. It is a fairly common disorder that affects millions of individuals across the world. The condition can occur by itself, or it can be symptom of some other underlying disease. Acid reflux is not a life-threatening disorder, but prolonged instances of the disease can increase the vulnerability to developing gastric ulcers and/or esophageal cancer.

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What does acid reflux feel like ?

You will feel a rising, burning sensation in the chest area, which is known as ‘heartburn’. Then, you may also get a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, which is due to the regurgitation of stomach acids, foods or drink back into the mouth or throat.

Symptoms and signs of acid reflux 

  • The most prominent symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn and pain in the chest. These signs are similar to those experienced during cardiac conditions and hence, patients have to be essentially careful in diagnosing gastric or acid reflux symptoms.

Some of the other signs and symptoms of acid reflux are as follows:

  • Dyspepsia
  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Coughing
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Sore throat
  • An upset stomach
  • Problems in swallowing
  • It is important to note that children with acid reflux may elicit loss of appetite and increased irritability.

Individuals experiencing symptoms other than those listed above need to immediately seek medical attention, as they may be an indicator of probable cases of some other serious disease.

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Causes of acid reflux

  • Acid reflux is usually caused due to improper eating habits and a bad diet. Intake of large and heavy meals; drinking large quantities of tea or coffee; and consumption of increasingly fried and spicy foods, chocolate and citrus foods can increase the susceptibility to developing acid reflux.
  • Smoking, alcohol abuse and being overweight or obesity are also considered as potential causes of acid reflux
  • Engaging in some activities like immediately bending or lying down post meals can also lead to development of acid reflux
  • Acid reflux can be one of the symptoms accompanying another condition such as hiatal hernia.
  • A more serious form of acid reflux, known as GERD, is a common disorder experienced by pregnant women.

Treatment of acid reflux

  • GERD can be treated via medications such as H2 blockers, antacids and PP inhibitors. The antacids can be used as tablets, pills and syrups. They act rapidly, but provide only temporary alleviation
  • Acid reflux resulting from obesity can be effectively treated via exercising and losing weight
  • Abstinence from alcohol and quitting smoking can aid in reducing acid reflux symptoms
  • Intake of coconut water or buttermilk after a meal can decrease the acidity and thus give relief from acid reflux

Changes in the overall diet and one’s lifestyle can help patients to permanently get rid of acid reflux. Avoid the intake of large meals. Instead consume several smaller and frequent meals. Avoid sleeping or lying down immediately after a meal. Do not have a heavy meal during nighttime.

Individuals with acid reflux should avoid the following food items in their diets:

  • Fried meat, sausages, and deli meat
  • Citrus fruits, cranberry juice, peppers, and onions
  • Tomatoes, and even tomato-based foodstuffs
  • Tea, coffee, and soda
  • Chocolates, peppermint, cheese and ice cream

Individuals with acid reflux can safely include the following food items in their diets:

  • Whole grains, brown rice, and multi-grain products
  • All vegetable and fruits
  • Dairy products which are fat-free
  • Fish, egg white, boiled meat, and steak

 

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