Are you familiar with that unpleasant burning sensation in your chest area especially after a meal? You’re not alone. Acid reflux is one of the top health-related search queries on the web, and happens to a large percentage of people.
Why Does It Happen?
Our stomachs contain strong acids to help food digestion and kill unwanted bacteria. The problem is when this acid is regurgitated back up into the esophagus due to a faulty valve that should otherwise separate the acidic stomach contents from the esophagus.
Other lifestyle factors that encourage acid reflux are such as obesity, excessive smoking, high sodium intake and lack of exercise.
Heartburn is the main symptom of acid reflux. A burning sensation can be felt behind the breastbone area. It worsens when the affected individual lies down or bends over. In some cases, this burning sensation can travel all the way up to the throat, causing an unpleasant sour or bitter aftertaste.
Other symptoms of persistent acid reflux are:
- bad breath
- uncomfortable dry cough
- throat problems
- difficulty swallowing
- dental erosion
Long term exposure of the esophagus to acid reflux can lead to more serious complications such as ulceration, inner bleeding and even esophageal cancer.
Treatment and Prevention
Antacids can be bought over the counter. They help to buffer the acidity of stomach contents, making them less erosive and harmful. Alginate drugs are also another class of OTC medicine, which work by creating a physical barrier against stomach acid.
These changes are found to make a huge difference when coping with frequent heartburn:
- Lose weight if overweight or obese
- Reduce smoking
- Chew slowly and eat smaller meals
- Avoid lying down after meals
- Manage stress
- Regular exercise
Herbal teas are an amazing choice to counteract acid reflux because they can help to improve digestion, counteract excessive acidity, as well as soothe other tummy issues such as gas, bloating and nausea. Teas found to help are chamomile tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea and Pu-Erh tea.
It is highly recommended to take two to four cups per day, especially after meals.
With proper treatment and prevention, acid reflux can be easily manageable and doesn’t have to control your life.