Jun 18, 2014 Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is uncomfortable, causes heartburn and nausea and takes the joy out of eating a slap up meal. Most people experience acid reflux at some stage in their lives during pregnancy or after a big meal. Over the counter antacids usually relieve symptoms and the conditions last for a short time. People with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) suffer from the condition on a regular basis and it affects their general health. Treatment for acid reflux involves proton pump inhibitors (like Omeprazole and Esomeprazole) which reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces. They are effective for short-term treatment but there are concerns concerning long-term use. Acid reflux is also a sign of health conditions such as a hiatal hernia, anxiety, oesophagal cancer and gastroparesis. It is important to visit your doctor if you suffer from acid reflux for a long time. Lifestyle changes help to ease the symptoms of the condition because many everyday habits cause it. As long as a serious health condition doesn’t cause acid reflux being aware of triggers and avoiding them is the most natural way to treat the condition.Acid reflux is the main symptom of GORD which is a condition affecting the lower oesophagal sphincter. It is a band of muscle separating the oesophagus and the stomach stopping food and acid coming back up from the stomach. People experience indigestion because the sphincter is weak and allows stomach contents to flow back to the chest. Symptoms include; bad breath, burning sensation in the chest, feelings of nausea, vomiting, bloating and difficulty swallowing. Sometimes the pain is so bad it feels like a heart attack if this is the case a visit to the doctor will determine if this is the case. Chronic acid reflux damages the oesophagus and causes Barrett's oesophagus which alters the cells and is a precursor to cancer (source: NHS). Triggers include; smoking, drinking alcohol, large portion sizes, lying down after eating, anti-inflammatories and asthma medication. Avoiding these triggers goes some way to preventing heartburn and indigestion. The most effective treatment is proton pump inhibitors (such as Lansoprazole , Nexium or Losec) which reduce acid production in the stomach. If they are unsuccessful surgery may be necessary to tighten up the sphincter muscle.
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