Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Individuals who suffer from acid reflux disease are actually suffering from a presence of stomach or gastric, juices in the oesophagus. These juices, which are usually only located in the stomach, contain a strong acid that is produced to aid in the breakdown of ingested food. When these acids travel upwards from the stomach into the oesophagus they irritate the tissue and slowly erode the lining of the oesophagus. This erosion results in the pain and burning associated with this disorder.
The Main Symptoms of Acid RefluxThe most common symptom associated with acid reflux disease is heartburn. This is the name used to describe the burning sensation felt in the throat, chest, and upper abdominal area caused by tissue erosion. Other symptoms of acid reflux include chest pain, difficulty swallowing (cause by irritation, inflammation, and swelling in the throat), a sour or bitter taste in the mouth (due to the presence of acid), upset stomach or other digestive problems (acid reflux can cause problems with digestion resulting in the improper breakdown of food particles), coughing, a rough voice or hoarseness, and tooth decay (caused by the affects of acid on tooth enamel).
In some instances acid reflux disease can also result in regurgitation. This is when food from the stomach travels back up into the throat. This occurs when food particles accompany the gastric juices as they travel to the oesophagus.
The symptoms of acid reflux disease can very in frequency and severity. However, most individuals will experience heartburn pain severe enough to interfere with normal daily activities. At the onset of this disease most sufferers will find relief from over-the-counter antacid medications. As the disease progresses these medications will no longer work and stronger, prescription medications are usually needed to eliminate the pain of heartburn.
Complications of Acid Reflux DiseaseIf acid reflux disease is not treated and controlled the presence of acid in the oesophagus can lead to more serious health problems. Over time the acid can erode the lining of the oesophagus to the point where ulsers and sores form. Once these lesions develop they will not heal without medical treatment. These ulcers can also cause internal bleeding, intense pain, and contamination of other organs.
Factors that Can Makes Symptoms WorseWhile the main symptoms of acid reflux disease are caused by the uncontrollable presence of acid in the oesophagus there are a few factors that increase the severity or frequency of the symptoms. Over eating and eating too quickly can make the symptoms worse because acid can more easily travel up and out of the stomach when the stomach is exceptionally full. As can obesity and pregnancy, both which put pressure on the stomach and result in the pushing of food and acid up into the oesophagus.
The ingestion of certain food and drink, such as alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, and chocolate, can also make symptoms worse since these foods cause an increase in stomach acid production.
Finally, lying down shortly after consuming meal can make the symptoms of this disease worse. When in a prone position acid and food from the stomach can more easily travel upwards to the throat. To help control symptoms attempt to remain upright for at least thirty minutes after each meal.