Acid reflux has numerous symptoms which are in common with heartburn. Persons who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, generally endure heartburn pain more than two days in a week. Additionally, those who suffer from GERD may suffer serious consequences if it’s left untreated.
Unchecked GERD can cause erosion of the esophageal lining and lead to the formation of scar tissue which causes problems in swallowing. Unmanaged acid reflux also increases the chance of esophageal cancer.
Symptoms of acid reflux include a dry cough, sleeplessness or interrupted sleep, a persistent bad taste in the mouth, bad breath, and tightening of the muscles in the throat. A patient may even find they have acid within in the mouth if they bend down suddenly or overeat.
Doctors state there’s no single cause of acid reflux disease but that it is a result of several contributing factors. A band of muscle tissue called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter can be the source of many of the symptoms and problems of GERD. This band of muscle tissue is an area of smooth muscles that is responsible for controlling the opening and closing of the esophagus when we eat or swallow. It keeps stomach contents from regurgitating, or flowing back into the esophagus. If these muscles loosen or weaken they fail to maintain the pressure barrier between the stomach and esophagus and the acid and pepsin from the stomach can flow back into the esophagus and cause acid reflux symptoms.
Consuming large meals or hitting the sack immediately after eating can also cause acid reflex. Foods which are greasy or spicy, as well as alcohol, may also cause reflux problems. Stress, antidepressants, sedatives, and other medications for stress and anxiety may also contribute to acid reflux troubles. Smoking, as well as drinking large amounts of carbonated beverages, have been shown to increase acid reflux.
One good home remedy for acid reflux includes using an old favorite – apple cider vinegar. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to one half glass of water. Sip this blend while eating your meal. You can also take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar without adding any water.
Ginger Root capsules, available at most nutrition stores and many pharmacies, can help calm the nerves as well as help with acid reflux. Take one capsule after you’re finished with dinner. Dinner (or Supper for those of you in the South!) normally is your largest meal and the one which causes the most acid reflux attacks.
Many people report that drinking cold, low fat milk helps their GERD attacks. Cold apple juice, eating raw carrots or apples is also effective for acid reflux.
A natural cure using fennel seeds has helped many sufferers. Chew one half-teaspoon fennel seeds, available from any grocery store, after meals. Chew the seeds slowly and allow the juice to flow down your throat. Anise and lavender tea is another great way to reduce acid reflux occurrences. Mix equal amounts lavender and anise and pour two and one half cups of boiling water over one teaspoon of the mix. Strain, cool, and add a little honey to sweeten the tea to taste. Drink one glass every morning and one in the evening before going to bed.
As always, if symptoms persist or worsen, consult your doctor.