The food that you eat passes through esophagus that connects the stomach and the mouth. At the opening of the stomach, there is a ring of muscle, called as lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which acts as a barrier between the stomach and esophagus. The LES closes automatically after consuming the food. Such an action ensures that the acid produced in the stomach does not revert into the esophagus.
When there is an irregularity in the functioning of LES, it does not close completely or is open partially, which allows the acids produced in the stomach to enter the esophagus. In such cases, any person experiences burning sensation in the chest called as heartburn. If these symptoms occur more than twice in a week or occur repetitively then the individual is suffering from acid reflux illness.
Why Do I Get a Lot of Acid Reflux?
The common cause of acid reflux is due to stomach abnormality, which occurs due to the hiatal hernia. It is nothing but a situation where the LES and the upper abdominal region move above the diaphragm, the muscular area that separates the stomach and the chest.
When functioning normally, the muscular region ensures that the acid developed in the stomach does not reach the esophagus. But, if you are suffering from the hiatal hernia, then it is possible that the acid moves into the esophagus producing the symptoms of acid reflux.
The following are the common risk elements associated with acid reflux:
- Eating a large meal and lying down immediately is the main cause of acid reflux
- Bending down after eating a meal
- Eating at a faster pace
- Eating a snack before heading to the bed
- Eating foods that irritate the stomach such as chocolate, tomato, citrus, garlic, onions, fatty foods, and spicy foods
- Drinking alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee and tea
- Lactose intolerant
- A few medications such as aspirin, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, and blood pressure medications can also cause acid reflux.
How Do I Diagnose Acid Reflux?
The diagnosis of acid reflux is dependent on the symptoms experienced by the individual. In a majority of the cases, the doctor will go ahead by understanding the symptoms as explained by the patient. In addition to it, one may also need to undergo tests in order to determine the presence of the pH content of the acid in the esophagus. Diagnosing acid reflux includes X-ray, Manometry, endoscopy, pH monitoring, and biopsy.
Is it Viable to Cure Acid Reflux With Lifestyle Changes?
An effective way to treat acid reflux is avoiding beverages and foods that elevate the symptoms of acid reflux and it is possible to cure acid reflux by making adjustments to lifestyle and food habits. The following are a few pointers that will be helpful for people who are suffering from the symptoms of acid reflux:
- Rather than choosing larger meals, opt for smaller meals throughout the day. For example, you can pick six meals in a day than the usual three meal course to reduce acid reflux.
- If you abuse alcohol and are a smoker, it is time to quit both the habits, as the chemicals present in the products makes it difficult for the blood to flow smoothly and reduce the necessary enzymes required for breaking the food in the stomach.
- Ensure that you have at least a minimum two-hour break before heading to the bed to effectively prevent acid reflux.
- If you are overweight, include exercises in your daily regimen to reduce the pressure on the abdomen.
- Stop wearing tight clothes, as it puts pressure on the stomach.