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7 Symptoms Of Acid Reflux

Last updated: Dec 9, 2021 Post in Gastroenterology in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

If you eat heartily before going to bed and wake up to a burning sensation in your chest, it may be due to the presence of stomach acid in your throat and mouth. Symptoms of acid reflux are unpleasant but can be easily managed and treated with antacids or at-home remedies. If your symptoms are severe, become a regular occurrence and do not let you sleep at night or make it challenging for your to carry out life activities, seek medical attention. The expert gastroenterologist doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center figure out the causes of acid reflux and come up with the most appropriate treatments to help you eat and digest without facing any problems.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter or valve. In normal situations, this valve closes tightly after the food enters your stomach. If it does not close or keep relaxed, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus after you have eaten. Mild acid reflux occurs at least twice a week, while moderate to severe acid reflux occurs at least once a month.

Also known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, acid reflux is a very usual condition that affects a huge population around the world. Anyone can develop GERD, but most people end up with signs of mild acid reflux during their 40s.

You are more likely to have symptoms of acid reflux if you are:

  • Overweight or obese;
  • Pregnant;
  • Smoke or get regularly exposed to second-hand smoke;
  • Take medications that cause acid reflux;
  • Eat heavy meals late at night.

Chronic acid reflux causes the stomach acid to persistently flow back up into the mouth, through the esophagus. You may experience heartburn, indigestion, trouble swallowing, and the feeling of food stuck in your throat, along with other problems that become very annoying.

Persistent heartburn that occurs two or more times a week or becomes resistant to medication is not a good sign and may lead to a chronic digestive disorder. To prevent heartburn and its complications, such as inflammation of the esophagus or the food pipe, you must seek specialist help.
Acid Reflux

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Here are 7 symptoms of acid reflux disease that affect people in different ways.

Bloating and belching

Bloating and belching are frequently experienced symptoms of acid reflux that result from swallowed air accumulating in the stomach. It occurs when we eat or drink too fast, take in a lot of carbonated or caffeinated beverages, smoke, or breathe with our mouth. The air can either belche back or pass out of the stomach into the small intestine and subsequently pass as rectal gas.

Bloating refers to a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen that comes from eating too much or having gas or air in the stomach. People with bloating do not necessarily have too much gas in the stomach, but they are more sensitive to stomach symptoms.

In some cases, bloating and belching are related to inflammation of the stomach lining caused by H. Pylori, the bacterium responsible for some stomach ulcers.

Easy ways to reduce bloating and belching include:

  • Eating and drinking slowly;
  • Avoiding too many carbonated drinks and alcohol;
  • Avoiding gum and hard candy;
  • Less smoking;
  • Checking out your dentures are fitted as loose-fitting dentures can lead to swallowing excess air when you eat, drink or speak;
  • Treating heartburn effectively.

Nausea

Many individuals with acid reflux may not experience heartburn at all. They may end up with unusual symptoms such as nausea and even severe chest pains.

Lifestyle changes can help to deal with nausea and symptoms associated with it. They include:

  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes;
  • Staying upright while eating;
  • Keeping your head elevated;
  • Avoiding smoking.

Chest pain

Sometimes acid reflux manifests itself in the form of chest pain. It usually happens when the stomach bile enters the esophagus. Sometimes this pain is so intense that it is even mistaken for a heart attack, and people rush to the emergency to seek treatment.

Chest pain should never be ignored even if you suspect it is not associated with the heart, and medical attention must be sought when it occurs.

Coughing and wheezing

Respiratory symptoms are also commonly associated with GERD or acid reflux. Irritation to the throat and even stomach acid, which makes its way to the lungs, can lead to chronic cough, hoarseness, or wheezing.

Difficulty in swallowing

Some people experience difficulty swallowing or dysphagia when a frequently occurring cycle of acid reflux causes scarring and narrowing in the esophagus. In this condition, swallowing becomes difficult, and you may feel as if there is a lump in the throat that affects their normal throat movement.

Sore throat

Repeated damage to the lining of the esophagus can also lead to a persistent sore throat. This condition is often accompanied by hoarseness of the voice, but this may not happen all the time.

Sometimes you may also develop a bitter taste at the back of your mouth. It causes the regurgitation of food or liquid from your stomach into the mouth.

Hiccups

Hiccups occur with involuntary spasms of the diaphragm that separates the chest from the abdomen and are found in conjunction with acid reflux.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms or a few of them regularly, or they worsen with time, affect your routine life and eating patterns, visit your primary care doctor. Even if you do not experience typical heartburn symptoms, there is a possibility that you may be suffering from GERD. A specialist doctor will determine if your symptoms are resulting from GERD and recommend the best treatment options to provide long-term relief.

They will provide you with complete information regarding this condition and come up with solutions that ease symptoms of acid reflux disease and gas.

Treatment and Management of GERD

Treating and managing symptoms of GERD is easy with help of dietary, as well as lifestyle changes. The expert doctor will figure out what is causing your symptoms and recommend the best tips to avoid this problem.

Tips for managing acid reflux include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight;
  • Quitting smoking;
  • Avoiding eating large meals in the evening;
  • Staying away from possible heartburn trigger foods such as spicy, fatty, and fried items;
  • Eating small meals to aid the digestive process;
  • Avoid wearing clothing tight from the belly area, as they can squeeze the stomach and push acid up into the esophagus;
  • Waiting at least two hours to digest the meals before going to sleep;
  • Keeping your head elevated during sleep by using a cushion or pillow for added support;
  • Avoiding using too many medications;
  • Avoid excessive use of coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.

Medications to Treat Acid Reflux

Your doctor may suggest the following medications, along with lifestyle changes, to seek relief from the painful and irritating symptoms. They include:

  • Antacids that provide quick relief by neutralizing stomach acids;
  • H-2 receptor blockers that decrease acid production;
  • Proton pump inhibitors that help to heal damaged esophagus tissue;
  • Baclofen to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter that allows acid backwash;
  • Prokinetics to strengthen the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), empty the stomach faster, and reduce acid reflux.

Sometimes the doctor may recommend a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications to offer maximum comfort. If over-the-counter or prescription drugs fail to provide relief, your doctor may recommend surgery to ease the unusual symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Persistent or recurring acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest and throat that prevents you from eating foods you love and enjoying life. Do not let symptoms of acid reflux or other digestive disorders make things hard for you. Schedule an appointment with an experienced and top-rated gastric doctor at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn more about why these symptoms are becoming a problem for you and how to manage them. The specialist will pinpoint the source of your issues and recommend the best solutions that provide relief for your specific discomfort.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 9, 2021 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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