Acid reflux or Heartburn, as it is commonly called, is an unpleasant sensation in the upper abdominal & chest area & sometimes in the region of the heart, that occurs when gastric acid from the stomach rises up into the esophagus (food pipe). It is also known as acid indigestion or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). The symptoms may extend to the throat where it causes burning pain, sore throat, cough, and irritation.
Heartburn typically strikes after meals and can last up to several hours. Some people experience heartburn whatever they eat. Others find they get it only after eating certain foods or meals. The consumption of large quantities of food, especially fatty foods, is an important cause of heartburn. However, several other factors predispose individuals to or exacerbate heartburn. Some of these are:
- Spicy& fatty food
- Sleeping or laying down immediately after eating
- Consumption of more quantities of chocolate or caffeine
- Acidic foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Exercising immediately after eating
Symptoms & Signs of GERD:
- Pain or discomfort in the lower chest or upper abdominal area, particularly while bending, lying down or eating.
- The sensation of fullness, bloating, and abdominal pressure.
- Acidic or sour taste at the back of the throat.
- Burning sensation in the throat.
- Feeling of irritation and soreness in the throat accompanied by a cough.
- Swallowing problems.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Black stools
Remedy from Heartburn:
Although it can be treated with medication, it is best to take measures or precautions to prevent heartburn. These include lifestyle changes and changes in food habits & behaviors as outlined below:
- Avoid fatty & spicy food. Junk food tends to be high in these.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid excess alcohol consumption.
- Avoid stress and practice stress-relieving routines like yoga & meditation.
- Avoid exercise immediately after eating.
- Avoid eating large quantities of food in one sitting. Instead, eat small quantities at regular intervals.
- Consume food slowly, chew & swallow it well.
- Avoid sleeping immediately after eating. A gap of at least 3-4 hrs is ideal.
- Try changing your sleeping position. Lying on the left side aids digestion.
- Avoid consumption of excessive chocolate or caffeine.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Wear relaxed-fitting clothes, especially around the waist & abdomen.
- Drink required an amount of water during the day. Restrict water to only sips with meals to avoid bloating.