Do Not Ignore Persistent Heartburn and Acid RefluxHow many times has it happened with you that after a heavy (and maybe highly satisfying) meal you have experienced a sour tasting liquid come in your mouth or even heartburn? This is called acid reflux in medical terms, or more precisely gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A huge percentage of people experience this many times, but when it happens two or more times a week, then it is time to look for treatment.
First publised on 2017-12-29 20:56:14
Why does acid reflux happen? At the entrance of your stomach, where it meets the esophagus, is a ring of muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. This opens to let the food pass to your stomach and closes immediately. If it does not close fully and immediately or if it opens too many times, the acid formed in your stomach to break down the food moves up the esophagus, causing acid reflux. It happens more to people who suffer from hiatal hernia, a disease where their stomach moves up through diaphragm hiatus and enters the chest area. But it can happen to anyone for other reasons too.
The most common reasons for acid reflux to occur in a person not suffering from hiatal hernia are:
Eating big meals, probably overstuffing your stomach
Lying down immediately after a meal
Overweight or obesity
Drinking huge amount of water during meals
Eating just before bedtime
Eating more of foods like citrus, tomato, chocolate, garlic, onions and spicy or fatty foods
Drinking more than reasonable quantity of beverages like alcohol, carbonated drinks, tea or coffee
Taking pain-killers, muscle relaxers or blood pressure medications.
Normally, acid reflux can be treated by small changes in lifestyle and/or over the counter medications such as tablets, fizzes and liquid preparations for acidity. Most ayurvedic and unani preparations for this purpose also help. But if it continues and happens more than twice a week, it is time to consult your doctor. Long term acid reflux can become a serious issue if not treated properly. It can lead to a condition known as Barretts esophagus, which again is a precursor to the cancer of the esophagus.