Acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is something you can have without even realizing it! For this reason, millions of people across the world suffer in silence without receiving adequate treatment. This is a very common medical condition that’s usually caused by a weak sphincter muscle at the top of your stomach. When this is weak, it allows acid to rise up your esophagus and cause the GERD symptoms we’re going to discuss here.
You may have heard the term acid reflux commonly connected to heartburn; that horrible burning sensation you get in your stomach, chest, and/or throat, but these aren’t the same thing. Heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux and it’s the first on our list.
Anyone who has had heartburn will have no problem describing it. But if you haven’t (consider yourself lucky!) heartburn is best described as a burning and sometimes searing sensation in the middle-lower chest that often occurs after eating certain trigger foods and beverages. These trigger foods, such as alcohol, chocolate, and coffee, can make acid flow back up into the esophagus and lead to pain and burning.
Sometimes heartburn can be so painful that the person suffering worries that they’re having a heart attack! However, one way to ensure this isn’t the case is to try changing your position to see if the pain increases or decreases. If the problem is your heart itself rather than heartburn, your pain will not change when you change position and you need to get to the emergency room. In the case of heartburn, your pain may increase when you lie flat on your back or bend over.
Regurgitation is as unappealing as it sounds. This is the process of acid backing up into your throat and mouth and it’s especially common at night time. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with a bitter taste in your mouth then you may be regurgitating in your sleep. If you have a severe case of GERD you may even vomit at times.
Acid reflux causes stomach discomfort such as nausea, burping, upper abdominal pain, and a feeling of fullness. In some cases, people experiencing dyspepsia won’t have any appetite because they feel too full to eat, even if they haven’t eaten anything in hours.
4.Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)
Dysphagia is a feeling of having food stacked up in your throat and this happens because your esophagus has narrowed. This can obviously become very challenging as swallowing becomes difficult and nutrition can be affected due to low-calorie intake leading to other medical problems.
Excessive salivation can be embarrassing but it could also be a sign of acid reflux. When acid gets into your throat it can cause you to salivate more than usual and although this is an uncommon symptom, it’s definitely one to watch out for if you’re already concerned about other acid reflux symptoms.
6.Halitosis / Bad Breath
If you’re a militant teeth brusher and still find that your breath isn’t very pleasant, then acid reflux might be the culprit. In this case, studies have shown that your stinky breath is a result of the contents of your stomach moving up into your esophagus where it begins to decay. The regurgitation of undigested food can also lead to this unpleasant odor.
When you don’t have enough acid in your stomach it becomes harder to digest food which means this food sits in your stomach for longer, leading to issues such as discomfort, carbohydrate fermentation, and – as mentioned above – acid regurgitation up the esophagus. This regurgitation can cause a cough that is often worse at night or when lying down in general, and it can often become chronic (if it lasts more than weeks it’s recognized as a chronic issue).
If you have constant throat pain or discomfort it could be a result of acid reflux. You know that feeling you get that’s often described as having a “frog in your throat”? Studies have shown that it can sometimes be GERD related. In addition, the other symptoms of reflux such as difficulty swallowing and a chronic cough can all lead to throat pain regardless.
How To Deal With Acid Reflux
First of all, PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors) are not the answer to every acid reflux problem, and that in itself is a problem because they are extremely over-prescribed. The thing about PPIs is that they block acid production in your stomach when the majority of acid reflux issues are actually due to insufficient amounts of stomach acid! If you fall into this category, using an acid blocker will clearly make your situation worse rather than better.
So how do you know if your stomach is producing too much acid or not enough? Well, if you’ve already been taking PPIs for a while and they haven’t worked, there’s your answer. If you’re only starting to realize now that acid reflux might be your issue, our experts suggest starting off with a natural supplement that will help your stomach to produce more acid rather than block your acid production. Our 3 main acid relief supplements are designed to prevent acid reflux but also stabilize and treat it when the symptoms occur.
Common Triggers to Watch Out For
- Rich, heavy foods and eating too quickly. Try to eat slowly and have regular small portions rather than 2 big meals a day.
- Certain foods are known triggers of reflux so it’s best to avoid them if they cause you an issue. Common culprits include fatty foods, spicy foods, onions, tomatoes, garlic, chocolate, and mint. If you must indulge then I suggest supplementing with our Digestive Aid to help break down those tricky foods and prevent excess acid.
- Beverages such as alcohol, coffee, and fizzy drinks. Alcohol and coffee can relax your sphincter muscle (which leads to reflux) and fizzy drinks will make you burp which sends acid shooting up your esophagus.
- Carrying excess body weight. Excess weight can put pressure on your sphincter and we know at this stage it’s super important it’s able to do its job and stay closed to keep acid from rising up into your throat.
- Tight clothing. Tight waistbands can increase pressure on your abdomen and push acid back up your esophagus. Also, they’re super uncomfortable, so why not take the opportunity to ditch them!
- Eating before going to sleep. It’s best to stay up for a few hours after eating as mere gravity will help to keep the acid in your stomach where it should be! Try to stop eating about 3 hours before bedtime. This means no more midnight snacks!
These tips and our dietary supplements should help you to get a handle on your GERD symptoms, but please do consult your physician if you feel that your pain is not improving as there may be a different medical problem that needs to be investigated further.