Heartburn and acid reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a very common digestive disorder globally. It is commonly known as heartburn and acid reflux. Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up toward the throat. The frequent occurrence of this feeling is called gastro-oesophageal disease.

It has been hypotheses’ that half of all adults will report reflux symptoms at some time. Gastro-oesophageal disease is a condition of troublesome symptoms and complications that result from the reflux of stomach contents into the oesophagus. The diagnosis of gastro-oesophageal disease is typically based on classic symptoms and response to acid suppression after an empiric trial. Gastro-oesophageal disease is an important health concern as it is associated with decreased quality of life and significant morbidity.

Successful treatment of gastro-oesophageal disease symptoms has been associated with significant improvement in quality of life, including decreased physical pain, increased vitality, physical and social function, and emotional wellbeing.

Check if you have acid reflux

An unpleasant sour teste in the mouth, caused by stomach acid is one of the signs of gastro-oesophageal disease. A burning sensation in the middle of your chest, also known as heartburn is one of the main symptoms of acid reflux.

You may also have or experience a cough or hiccups that keeps coming back, a hoarse voice, bad breath, bloating and feeling sick. You symptoms will be worse after eating, when bending over and laying down.

Causes of heartburn and acid reflux

There is no obvious reason behind heartburns, many people get it from time to time. However, sometime it’s caused or made worse by:

  1. Smoking
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Being overweight
  4. Certain food and drink, e.g. alcohol, fatty or spicy foods, coffee and chocolate.
  5. Anxiety and stress
  6. A hiatus hernia – when part of the stomach moves up into the chest
  7. Some medicines, like Ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatory painkillers.

How you can ease heartburn and acid reflux yourself

  1. Try to relax
  2. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  3. Try to exercise, lose weight if you’re overweight
  4. Raise 1 end of your bed 10 to 20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress – make it so your chest and head are above the level of your waist, so stomach acid does not travel up towards your throat.
  5. Don’t have drink or food that can triggers your symptoms
  6. Don’t go to bed immediately after eating at least eat within 3 or 4 hours before bed time
  7. Don’t wear clothes that are tight around your waist
  8. Don’t smoke
  9. Reduce alcohol consumption
  10. Don’t stop taking any prescribed medicine without speaking to a doctor first.

Treatment

Please see your GP or doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms and/or to ease symptoms of acid reflux, a GP/doctor can prescribe medicine that reduces how much acid your stomach makes.

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