After eating, do you suffer from stomach pain, nausea, burping, heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, or sore throat? If you experience any of these symptoms, then you may be one of the millions of sufferers of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) also known as acid reflux disease or heartburn.
A burning sensation starting in your stomach travels up the esophagus. This sensation is painfully felt in your chest and leaves a bad taste in your mouth as well as traces of food and stomach acid. This acid also contains bile and pepsin which is an enzyme utilized in the digestion of proteins in the stomach.
Residual acid in your esophagus can cause inflammation, ulceration, and even bleeding of the lining of the throat. Other complications may include swelling and infection of the lungs and fluid in the sinuses and ear canals if you do not seek acid reflux therapy on a continued basis. If heartburn symptoms happen more than three times a week, please contact me for free consultation.Symptoms and Causes of GERD and Acid Reflux
This disease does not target a certain age. Its affects are felt by babies, children, and adults. Symptoms arise if you consume large meals or overeat before bedtime or a nap. When you are lying down, gravity cannot help return the excess acid to your stomach. Therefore, leftover acid remains in your throat which causes damage. These lifestyle habits tend to contribute to discomfort from acid reflux:
- Eating onions, chocolate, peppermint, high-fat or spicy foods, citrus fruits, garlic, and tomato-based products
- Citrus juices, alcohol, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks
- Eating before bedtime
- Being overweight
- Eating large portions
- Wearing tight-fitting clothing or belts
- Lying down or bending over, especially after eating
- Bulging of the stomach into the chest cavity, also called hiatal hernia
When symptoms occur while you are awake, gravity and constant swallowing help flush this acid back to the stomach. Tooth decay can also occur from excess food and acid making it into your mouth and onto your teeth.
The lower esophageal sphincter or LES is a valve between your stomach and esophagus that keeps food and stomach acids from going back up your throat. This valve can become damaged and weakened over time which will result in this condition. Another reason for this occurrence is pressure applied to the abdomen from bending, lifting, obesity, or pregnancy. Smoking and under or overproduction of the acids in your stomach and liver also contribute to this disease.
Acid in the Stomach
The majority of heart burn sufferers actually have too little acid in the stomach not excess. The food cannot be broken down properly and stays partially digested in the stomach. The inorganic acids may travel up the esophagus causing heartburn.
Many patients need enzymes coupled with betaine hydrochloroide to breakdown their food properly and allow the food to be absorbed so it doesn't lead to inorganic acids causing heartburn. The standard medical therapy is to put patients on proton pump inhibitors which completely turn off all acid in stomach. This leads to poor mineral absorption and poor nutrient absorption. This has been linked to an increase incidence of fractures in people that are on these drugs consistently for more than 3 years.