This page on ‘what is acid reflux’ will provide you all kinds of useful information on: causes of acid reflux, symptoms of acid reflux,
… as well as the answer to a very close related question “What is GERD?“, what the typical and severe symptoms of GERD: are, what kind of GERD pain you can expect, what are the foods that cause acid reflux, what some natural cures for acid reflux are, ideas for great acid reflux remedies, tips on following a GERD diet,
… and what acid reflux surgery options you have if the acid reflux medication and remedies don’t work.
By the time you finish this page, you will know as much as you need to about acid reflux and GERD, but you should take some time to explore some of the other pages on acid reflux on this site to learn as much as possible.
What Is Acid Reflux & What Is GERD?
What is GERD, what is acid reflux, and what is the difference between the two?
Acid reflux is a disorder when your stomach produces too much acid to digest your food, and the bile has nowhere to go but back up your esophagus.
Acid reflux can be very painful, and it can lead to other problems – such as GERD.
GERD is Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease. When GERD sets in, you will find that it can be very painful, so it is important to deal with it before it gets out of control.
In addition to your stomach producing too much bile, the muscle that connects your esophagus to your stomach – the lower esophageal sphincter muscle – is not strong enough to block acid from coming back up your throat.
The fact that the sphincter doesn’t close, usually means that the bile is able to flow back up your food pipe, causing a lot of pain.
Causes of Acid Reflux
What causes acid reflux to set in?
There are many causes of acid reflux, such as:
- Eating Too Much – When you eat too much food, your stomach gets very full and your body has to produce enough bile to digest it all. This leads to too much acid in your stomach, thus causing it to head up the esophagus.
- Snacking Late at Night – Some people like to snack late at night or immediately before going to bed, but this stimulates the body to produce bile to digest the food.
When you are sleeping, your LES muscle relaxes, and thus the acid is able to flow back up into your esophagus.
- Being Pregnant – Many pregnant women find that the baby growing in their womb places pressure on the stomach, which shrinks it and reduces the amount of space it has. If you eat lots of food on a smaller stomach caused by pregnancy, acid reflux is to be expected.
- Being Obese – Those who are overweight or obese tend to eat a lot of food, and thus the body has to produce a lot of bile to handle the food it knows is coming.
Too much bile is the cause of acid reflux.
- Laying Down – If you eat large meals and immediately lie down, you may find that the bile that your body has produced to process the food comes back up the esophagus.
Gravity works with the full stomach to send the bile where it shouldn’t go.
- Poor Lifestyle – Soking, drinking, and consuming too much caffeine can also be responsible for causing acid reflux.
In addition to these primary causes of acid reflux, you may find that taking the wrong medication can cause it, as well as eating spicy or acidic food.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
The symptoms of acid reflux disease are quite noticeable, and they include:
- Pain in your chest or heartburn
- Burping more than normal
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent hiccups
- Unexplained weight loss (the bad kind)
- A cough, sore throat that won’t go away, or wheezing
- Spitting up or regurgitating acid into your mouth
These symptoms can be an obvious sign that you have problems with acid reflux, so make sure to take steps to correct the problems before they get worse if you see these signs.
What is Acid Reflux in Relation to Symptoms of GERD?
What is acid reflux in relation to GERD?
GERD is the worsening of acid reflux, as the acid backing up your throat basically burns a hole in your esophageal lining.
Unlike the stomach, the esophagus doesn’t have a thick lining that insulates it against the acid. If acid heads up the pipe, it will burn and cause lots of pain.
Some of the symptoms of GERD and severe GERD symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Having a hard time trying to swallow
- A hoarse or sore throat
- The feeling that you have a large lump in your throat
- Regurgitating acid or food
- A dry, racking cough
- Pain in your chest
- Heartburn or a burning sensation in your chest
As you can see, the symptoms of GERD are very similar to the symptoms of acid reflux. However, if you have GERD, it means that the acid has done more damage to your system than acid reflux would do.
So what is acid reflux in relation to GERD again?:
GERD is like Phase 2 of acid reflux, and it can be a lot more painful than acid reflux would be.
What is Acid Reflux: How Bad is GERD Pain?
For many people acid reflux will feel as a bit of pain in their chests, and the fact that their food is coming back up is certainly unpleasant.
However, GERD pain is much stronger than acid reflux pain, and it can be hard for you to sit still, lie down, or even walk around with the sharp pain caused by acid reflux.
If you take antacids, they can provide you temporary relief from the GERD pain.
However, it is important to note that GERD is the second stage of acid reflux, meaning that the LES muscle is probably seriously damaged.
The same can be said for the lining of the esophagus, and it will take longer for you to recover from the damage to your food pipe. If you feel any kind of acid reflux or GERD pain, take steps to get it corrected as quickly as possible.
Foods that Cause Acid Reflux
There are many foods that cause acid reflux, and it is important to know which the foods responsible for causing the problems are in order to avoid these foods and clear up the problem.
Here are some of the foods that you should avoid if you have problems with acid reflux or GERD:
- Tomatoes – While tomatoes are excellent for your health, they are very acidic and thus can cause the GERD to get even worse.
- Citrus Fruits – Everyone knows just how acidic citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can be, and it should come as no surprise that they make acid reflux problems worse.
- Aromatics – Onions and garlic are both very strong for your stomach, and – though they are great for your heart – they will be a poor choice if you have problems with acid reflux.
- Spicy Food – Anything that contains chili peppers or lots of spices are best avoided when you have acid reflux, including Mexican and Indian food.
- Peppermint – Peppermint actually relaxes your sphincter muscles, which allows the acid to come back up your esophagus.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a very strong substance and can cause heartburn if they aren’t consumed in moderation, so restrict your coffee or tea intake with acid reflux.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is basically a strong acidic drink that will not sit well in your stomach if you have acid reflux, especially if you have already had a large meal.
- Fatty Foods – Anything that is high in fat forces your body to produce more bile in order to digest it properly, so avoid fatty foods if you have problems with acid reflux.
- Carbonation – The carbonation in sodas and mineral water will actually have the opposite of the desired effect if you have acid reflux, as it causes your stomach to distend and places pressure on the LES.
Wow, who knew all those foods could have such a negative effect? It’s a shame that those are some of the most enjoyable foods!
The things we do for health …
What is Acid Reflux: Natural Cures for Acid Reflux
If you want to deal with the acid reflux and GERD, you will find that the natural cures for acid reflux will often be the most effective.
Eating certain foods can have a great effect on your GERD or acid reflux, so consider these foods to deal with your problems:
- Apples have a lot of alkaline in them, which helps to cut the acid and restore the proper pH balance in your stomach. Surprisingly, the sweeter apples are the ones with more alkaline in them.
- Honey is a powerful alkalizing agent that will help to neutralize the acid in your stomach and help to promote a pain and acid-free digestive system.
- Lemons. Yes, I know lemons were on the ‘avoid’ list above but citrus fruits contain a lot of potassium that can actually have a positive effect on your stomach and acid reflux, particularly if you drink some lemon juice with warm water and honey.
- Basil is not only good for making your pasta taste great, but it can help to reduce the amount of pain that you will feel from your acid reflux.
These are just a few natural cures that you can try if your acid reflux is causing a lot of pain, and you might be surprised to find that they are incredibly effective.
Acid Reflux Remedies – Following a GERD Diet and Changing Your Lifestyle
If you want to find the best acid reflux remedies, following a diet for acid reflux and a diet for GERD is only a small part of what you should do.
Obviously cutting out the foods that will cause your problems to worsen is the best idea, but you may find that making a few simple changes in your life will make it easier for you to be faithful to your GERD diet by keeping you free of pain:
- Avoid – Clothes that are too tight, drinks and foods that can cause the heartburn, gaining a lot of weight or staying overweight, lying down right after you eat, eating right before bed, smoking, eating large meals.
- Do – Eat foods that are not very acidic, eat foods that will cut back on the acid in your stomach, sleep with your head slightly elevated, eat no less than four hours before sleeping, get lots of exercise, eat smaller meals more regularly.
They seem simple enough, but you may find that they can be quite effective.
What to Do When Acid Reflux Gets Out of Control
Acid Reflux Medication and Acid Reflux Surgery
How can you deal with acid reflux when it gets out of control?
Acid Reflux Surgery
What is acid reflux surgery?
Acid reflux surgery is designed to help prevent the acid from backing up the esophagus by creating a special barrier that blocks the acid, help to form scar tissue in your esophagus that won’t get eaten away by the acid, or strengthen and tighten the LES muscle that allows the acid back up.
OTC Meds for Acid Reflux
What is acid reflux medication?
Acid reflux medication includes antacids to neutralize the acid, H2 blockers that reduce the amount of acid produced by your body, and proton pump inhibitors will give your esophagus time to recover by blocking the acid from getting back up.
Over the counter medications may be enough, though possibly not for strong acid reflux.
Prescription Meds for Acid Reflux
What is acid reflux prescription meds?
There is a wide variety of prescription acid reflux medication that you may want to try, as they have various effects.
H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors of prescription strength can effectively stop acid reflux in its tracks if the OTC stuff doesn’t work.
Now that you understand all about acid reflux, you can make the informed choice of how to deal with it.
What Would You Like to Read Now After This Article on What Is Acid Reflux?
What is GERD, the Causes of GERD and a Natural Cure for GERD?
GERD Symptoms In-Depth and Dietary Tips to Lessen Symptoms of GERD
Typical and Severe Symptoms of GERD: Dealing with Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease
A Long List of Symptoms of Acid Reflux and an Explanation of the Similar GERD Symptoms
Natural GERD Treatment: Healthy GERD Diet & Foods to Avoid with GERD
Acid Reflux Treatment Options: Going for a Natural Cure for GERD or GERD Mediations?
GERD Surgery or Acid Reflux Surgery: How to Treat GERD When all Other Options Fail
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