Common Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when the acid in the stomach flows backwards into the esophagus—the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This condition is also known as gastroesophageal reflux and causes a burning sensation in the chest, known as heartburn. At times, acid reflux leads to a severe condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that causes difficulty in swallowing, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing.
Acid reflux is a result of several different causes like eating large-portioned meals or lying down immediately after meals. Obesity, being overweight or snacking right before bedtime is common causes of acid reflux. Even smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol causes the problem. Other reasons can be being pregnant, taking certain medications like aspirin, and having citrus, spicy, fatty foods, and carbonated drinks.
The condition brings several signs and symptoms that can help one understand their problem.
Heartburn – Acid reflux can lead to a burning sensation in the chest, behind the breast bone. The sensation begins in the upper abdomen and travels up to the neck or throat. The pain caused by the burning sensation can last up to two hours and often worsens after eating. It worsens when one is lying down or bending.
Difficulty while resting – Even if there is no heartburn, one can feel pain while lying down or resting as the position causes the reflux to flow to the esophagus and cause pain.
Pain post-meal – When one eats enough to fill their stomach and there is no space for any more food, if the person feels any kind of pain the stomach, it could be acid reflux.
Bitter taste – When acid escapes the stomach, it reaches the throat leaving an icky and bitter taste in the mouth. In some rare acid reflux cases, one can even experience choking.
Hoarseness – Hoarseness can be a symptom of heartburn which occurs when the acid seeps into the esophagus and causes irritation to the vocal cords.
Sore throat – Another similar symptom is a sore throat which is a common symptom of the flu or common cold that occurs in acid reflux.
Cough – Heartburn can cause chronic wheezing and cough. The worsening of coughing and wheezing caused by heartburn can, in rare cases, even cause asthma.
Asthma – Stomach acid can trigger certain chest nerves that result in constricting the breathing tubes to prevent the acid from entering the breathing tube, ultimately causing asthma.
Nausea – Though nausea is a common symptom of many disorders, if it occurs right after a meal, it can be a clear indication of acid reflux.
Extra saliva – When the mouth suddenly starts producing extra saliva, it could be due to acid reflux.
Difficulty in swallowing – Prolonged acid reflux may lead to difficulty in swallowing as the condition causes swelling in the lower-esophagus tissue, which causes pain while swallowing.
Acid reflux and lifestyle changes
Acid reflux can be effectively treated with simple yet mindful lifestyle changes. It is important to check the causes and take measures to prevent acid reflux.
Eating smaller meals with increased frequency will prevent the stomach from being bloated. At the same time, it’s important to eat foods that are healthy and easily digestible. Additionally, ensuring one eats their last meal at least two to three hours before bedtime can prove to be very helpful. Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol can be highly effective.
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