What is Acid Reflux /GERD: What Causes Acid Reflux?

Understand Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is the short name for a common medical condition known as gastro esophageal reflux disease (commonly abbreviated as GERD).  This is a common medical condition where swallowed liquid, food, and acid of the stomach, seep out of the stomach and up into the esophagus.

What causes acid reflux?

Near the entrance of your stomach there is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, this muscle behaves like an opening and closing regulator for your stomach. In people who don’t suffer GERD symptoms, this muscle closes right after swallowed food passes it. When this muscle does not close, acid from the stomach can move its way into your esophagus. A hiatal hernia is one common cause of acid reflux disease. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter and the upper section of the stomach move to a position higher than the diaphragm (a muscle which separates the stomach from chest). If a hiatal hernia occurs, it is possible for acid to move from your stomach upward to your esophagus. There are many factors which could increase the chance of GERD occurring. Weight problems, eating big and/or heavy meals, eating before going to bed, smoking, and eating certain citrusy, spicy, and fatty foods can all increase the risk of acid reflux occurring.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

There are many symptoms of GERD. Pains in your stomach or chest, regurgitating stomach acid, bloating after eating, excessive hiccups and burping, esophagus narrowing, and nausea are all symptoms of acid reflux disease.

Common treatments of acid reflux:

Usually the most successful method to treat acid reflux disease is to make healthy changes to your lifestyle and also medicate with various over the counter medications. Antacids are one of the most popular and common forms of treatment for acid reflux. The way antacids work is by neutralizing the acid in your stomach, therefore solving the problem of GERD. There are some side-effects involved when using general antacids such as diarrhea and/or constipation, so for the best results it is important to use an antacid that has magnesium hydroxide in addition to aluminum hydroxide as active ingredients. When these two hydroxides are put together, they often counterbalance the potential side-effects.

Antacids are not a guaranteed solution to solving acid reflux. In some cases using an antacid does not work, this is when a doctor might prescribe different medications . One of the medicines the doctor might prescribe is a foaming agent. What this foaming agent does is lightly cover the lining of your stomach to prevent the reflux of acid. Another medicine the doctor might try is an H2 blocker. What an H2 blocker does is decrease the production of acid in your stomach. Another type of medicine which decreases the production of acid is Proton pump inhibitors. One other method for dealing with GERD that doctors sometimes use is prescribing a Prokinetic medicine. This medicine helps in strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter, draining your stomach quicker, and reducing the reflux of stomach acid. If acid reflux symptoms are relentless and harsh, there are certain surgeries available however these surgeries are typically done as a last option due to their invasive nature.

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