Symptoms of acid reflux are as you probably already know pretty by now, very uncomfortable. Here is what is going on:
Imagine that you are your esophagus, working pleasantly, minding your own business, when all of a sudden your stomach flings acid back at you (along with lots of undigested food).
The acid is very painful, and it may eventually burn your lining, and this is why you (the whole you rather than the esophagus you) feel the pain that is caused by acid reflux.
Here you will learn everything you need to know about the symptoms of acid reflux, what the causes are, what could happen if you don’t deal with them, and so much more.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux and GERD Symptoms
The primary symptom of GERD and acid reflux is a lot of pain and discomfort.
The symptoms of these two conditions are very similar but you can view GERD as the second phase of acid reflux.
GERD pain is the result of a cauterization of the esophageal lining which again is a result of acid reflux.
To go into more detail, GERD symptoms include:
Heart burn is the name for the pain that you feel when the acid comes back up, and it feels like your heart is burning up.
This is actually one of the main symptoms of GERD, and it is something to be very careful of.
You will feel that you are burning up from the inside, with the pain starting in your stomach and traveling up towards your chest, on to your throat, and even up to the back of your neck.
While it may be cool for babies to spit up their food, for you it is no longer acceptable.
If you feel like your food is coming back up, this is one of the symptoms of acid reflux. The reason that you are heaving your guts out is because the acid effectively tells your food “Not in my kitchen!” and sends it scurrying back up and out of your mouth.
Chest pain is common when you have an elephant sitting on your chest, as well as when you have acid reflux.
The acid being pushed back from your stomach is headed back towards your chest, and the burning sensation follows the waves of acid.
Nausea usually precedes regurgitation or vomiting, and you will find that you feel quite sick when acid reflux sets in.
It is usually one of the best signs that you have acid reflux, and will help you to determine for sure whether you really have GERD or you just have been hitting yourself in the chest too much.
Dysphagia is a fancy name for “having a hard time swallowing” (it looks so much more medical and professional than its meaning).
If you are having a hard time swallowing, your food may end up going down the wrong tube towards your lungs. This can be very dangerous and potentially fatal, so it is best to seek treatment if you are experiencing signs of dysphagia.
While hiccups may seem totally hilarious to some people, it can be a sign that you have acid reflux.
Your hiccups are caused by the diaphragm contracting, and you will find that persistent hiccups – while comical – can be a sign of acid reflux and something very annoying.
Dyspepsia is another fancy term for something common, and this term means indigestion.
Acid reflux causes indigestion, at the food that you eat cannot be properly digested by your stomach thanks to the fact that you have far too much acid floating around.
If you always feel like your throat is sore, you may have acid reflux.
Seeing as the esophagus is your throat, the fact that acid is coming back up your esophagus means that your throat will be permanently raw and burned.
This is another of the principal signs that you have acid reflux.
What Causes Acid Reflux and Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Now you know what the symptoms of acid reflux are, but do you really know what causes acid reflux in the first place?
There are a few things that could be the reason that you have acid reflux, so read the list of potential causes to see if any of them fit your situation:
While this may sound like a funny reason for acid reflux, the truth is that it actually could be something that causes it to happen if there is something else wrong.
If you already have problems with acid reflux, your bending forward could actually force the stomach acid back up and cause you to feel sick or vomit.
You have to already have acid reflux problems for this to be a potential cause, but it is a probable cause in many cases where people are suffering from acid reflux.
Being pregnant is a joy in so many ways, but it may also comes with many complications like high blood pressure, diabetes … and acid reflux.
Acid reflux is more commonly experienced by women in the last trimester of their pregnancy, and it is usually caused by the pressure put on the stomach by the growing baby that starts to occupy more and more space inside the woman’s body.
Dealing with this kind of acid reflux is simple and involves eating smaller meals, and the acid reflux will usually go away once the child is born.
Eating too Much
If you eat giant meals (larger than you should, at least), it is likely that you will cause acid reflux problems due to the fact that your stomach has to produce more acid to digest all the food you eat.
You can deal with your acid reflux problems just by cutting down on the amount of food you eat, and keeping a food diary of what and how much you eat will help you to realize where you are eating too much and causing the acid reflux.
A hiatal hernia is a problem where the top part of your stomach is actually protruding into your chest through a small aperture in your diaphragm.
This is not a common problem, but it definitely can be responsible for acid reflux among a number of other serious problems.
Asthma and acid reflux share the same problem as the chicken and the egg, and no one knows “who came first”.
Some experts believe that asthma causes the acid reflux, while some say that it is the other way around.
Those that believe that acid reflux is caused by asthma blame the problem on the squeezing of the chest with the sneezes or that the asthma medications that relax the chest could relax the esophageal sphincter as well, but all agree that asthma and acid reflux are very tightly linked.
Alcohol forces the stomach to produce more acid, meaning that there is more acid in the stomach than there should be (anyone who has ever vomited after drinking too much will know just how acidic the stomach bile can get).
Cutting back on drinking will help to reduce stomach acid problems.
Smoking is linked to dozens of serious problems in the body, such as heart problems, arterial wall weakening, and terrible breath.
Smoking can also cause acid reflux, as it reduces the levels of bicarbonates in the body.
Bicarbonates are used by the body to neutralize and counteract acids, and less of them means more acid.
Smoking also causes your body to produce less saliva, and saliva helps make food easier for the stomach to digest.
Smoking is known to cause your stomach to also produce more acid, makes your esophageal sphincter weaker, and actually causes more of the bile salts from your intestines to float towards your stomach.
It also makes your body digest food slower, and is basically a terrible thing to do if you want to stay healthy.
Peptic ulcers are ulcers in the lining of your stomach that have eaten holes in its walls, and these ulcers can cause your stomach to digest your food much more slowly than it should.
Slow digestion means more stomach acid is needed, meaning more chances that your stomach will send the acid back up your esophagus.
Insufficient levels of the enzymes that are needed for digestion can cause the same effect.
Now you know what can cause symptoms of acid reflux, but what happens if you leave your GERD and acid reflux untreated?
Complications of the Severe Gerd Symptoms
Diseases are not like problems with your computer or television that will magically disappear if you leave them alone (or give them a good whack), but they will only get worse if you don’t do anything to deal with them.
Acid reflux and GERD can cause serious complications if they aren’t treated, such as:
Erosive esophagitis basically means that the acid that your stomach is kicking back up towards your throat eats away at your esophagus, and it happens in sufferers of chronic GERD.
The acid can cause your throat to become very irritated, very swollen, and very damaged.
The stomach acid may actually eat away enough of your throat that you start bleeding, and you can see the blood in your bathroom trips or coming up with your regurgitated food.
This is a sign that you need immediate medical care, and should be treated immediately. Bleeding for too long can lead to anemia, and may require an emergency transplant of blood.
Barrett’s Esophagus + Cancer of the Esophagus
Barrett’s Esophagus often leads to strange changes in your esophagus’ cells, which actually increases your risk of getting cancer of the esophagus.
A small percentage of GERD patients get Barrett’s Esophagus, and many of the people with erosive esophagitis end up developing Barrett’s Esophagus.
While it may not be a common disorder, it can usually lead to cancer of the esophagus if left untreated. Once dysplasia sets into the throat and esophagus, the risk of cancer is significantly higher.
Strictures can develop if your esophagus is slowly worn away by the stomach acid over a prolonged period of time.
As the stomach acid eats away at your esophagus, strictures – also known as narrowed regions of your esophagus – may form.
This may make it a lot harder for you to swallow than it already is, and you may need a special surgery just to stretch your throat back into its normal shape that can swallow.
However, on the bright side, these strictures can prevent other GERD symptoms from being a problem, as they block off your esophagus to prevent acid from traveling back up it.
When there is too much acid coming back up the throat, it may actually wear away at the teeth and cause corrosion. It may eat away at the enamel of your teeth, which can make your teeth weak and painful.
While the relationship between acid reflux and asthma is unclear, doctors all agree that asthma problems become worse when acid reflux is a problem.
The acid can actually be inhaled into your lungs when it backs up, and this can cause strong symptoms of asthma. The acid that is leaking into your esophagus may stimulate the vagus nerves in your chest.
This causes your lungs to constrict, thus causing asthma.
Whatever the relationship between the two, asthma and acid reflux nearly always go hand in hand.
Sleep apnea is a fancy way of saying “having a hard time breathing during sleep”, and it is common side effect of severe GERD symptoms.
The reason for the breathing problems is the acid that is causing the lungs to constrict, but using a CPAP device that helps to treat sleep apnea can be just as effective at dealing with GERD as with the main problem.
Chronic Throat Problems
Once the acid has started to eat away at the lining of your esophagus, you can bet that throat problems are on the way.
Not only do these throat problems include a hoarse, painful, or sore throat, but it can lead to laryngitis, coughing, a constant feeling of needing to clear your throat, little pink bumps on your vocal chords known as granulomas, and having a hard time speaking.
As you can see, these problems can be quite serious, so it is important deal with them pronto in order to prevent acid reflux from making things worse than they already are.
Tips: How to Deal with Severe Acid Reflux
If you have severe acid reflux, it is important to know how to deal with it.
You have seen what it can do to your body if left untreated, so here are some tips on how to deal with your severe acid reflux and the symptoms of acid reflux:
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 1: Get some turmeric in your food to help your body digest your food better and reduce your stomach acid. Not only does it taste great, but it will improve acid reflux.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 2: Eat licorice (the real stuff), consume some licorice tablets, or drink licorice tea. It helps to reduce GERD problems quite effectively.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 3: Try and get your body into a more alkaline state by drinking a glass of water with some baking soda mixed in. More alkaline means less acid, meaning less risk of symptoms of acid reflux.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 4: Suck on a spoonful of real organic honey just before you hit the sack at night. Your body produces more acid during the night, but honey helps to balance out the acid by creating alkaline.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 5: Use an acid reflux pillow to elevate your head and get gravity working for you. If you sleep horizontally, the acid is more likely to head up your esophagus.
By elevating your head, gravity works with your body to send the acid down towards your intestines.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 6: Cut back on milk. Milk initially helps to coat your stomach with a lining to protect it, but it will eventually cues your stomach to produce more acid.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 7: Stop drinking tea, coffee, soda, and booze to prevent GERD symptoms.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 8: Use certain foods to help your body be more alkaline than acidic. Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, fresh juices, raw vegetables, whole grains, and cream of tartar can help to prevent acid problems.
- Dealing with symptoms of acid reflux no. 9: Avoid fast foods, fried foods, fatty foods, and any foods that will cause the acid reflux to worsen.
Do these things, and see your acid reflux problem diminish quite effectively.
Gerd Pain and How to Handle It
Anyone who has lived with GERD will know just how painful it can be to wake up in the middle of the night feeling like your heart is trying to solder its way out of your chest to make sweet music with your burning throat.
GERD pain can be unbearable if it gets out of control, so it is important to know how to handle it.
The pain will usually last for a couple of hours, though medications like antacids are used to help provide immediate relief.
Some medications help to tighten the sphincter that is letting the acid up into your throat, thus helping to block off the pain. There are certain treatments that can help to provide you relief from the GERD pain and the symptoms of acid reflex.
The best way to deal with the GERD pain is to change your lifestyle and dietary habits as recommended.
There is a special GERD diet that you can follow, and it is populated with delicious foods that will not cause further problems with stomach acid.
You should try and eat dinner well before bedtime so your body has plenty of time to digest the food you eat, and raising your head with an acid reflux pillow can help to reduce the pain that you feel.
When it comes to handling the pain, the best thing to do is to grit your teeth and bear it as the antacids get to work.
Antacids take a few minutes to get down into your stomach and lessen the GERD pain, but they can be long painful minutes.
The pain can be a reminder just how important it is for you to make the changes that will help to keep you pain free, and making these changes will help you to have a healthy, GERD pain-free life.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux: Cough Gerd
One thing that many people notice when they are suffering from GERD is that they get a dry, persistent, unexplained cough.
Cough GERD symptoms are actually very common, and they are one of the best indications that you are suffering from acid reflux. But what causes the cough as one of the symptoms of acid reflux?
GERD causes the cough by stimulating the nerves in your chest to tighten, specifically the vagus nerve.
When your chest tightens, the cough is the result. Even a small amount of stomach acid is often enough to cause a cough, though very small quantities of the acid may not stimulate the vagus nerve sufficiently to force your body to cough.
Using the GERD medications can help you to deal with the cough, thus making it easier for you to breathe and sleep easily.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux: Gerd and Palpitations
GERD and palpitations are not too closely linked, but heart flutters are only caused by falling in love (and a few coronary diseases).
Many people mistake the GERD pain that they feel for being heart palpitations, as they feel like their heart is on fire.
Heart palpitations are usually marked by an extreme consciousness of how fast your heart is beating, while GERD is marked by feeling that your heart is being consumed by the Fires of Hell and is trying to burn itself free of your chest.
It is common for people to mistake the two for being the same thing, but heart palpitations cannot be caused by GERD.
Now that you have a fuller understanding of what the symptoms of acid reflux are, what causes it, and how you can deal with it, it is up to you to make the lifestyle and dietary changes that will help you to deal with the problem and prevent it in the future.
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