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Flush The Acid Reflux

Often experiencing Dry cough or Chest pain? Sore throat or Bad breath? Constipation or Indigestion? You immediately need to get it checked by the doctor

Facing Acid Reflux? That too frequently? Tired of taking medicines but no relief or minimal relief?  But have you ever thought what biological connotation of this issue is? Okay! Let us have a look

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when the stomach flows back the acid into our food pipe aka oesophagus. This issue is characterized by heartburn in the lower chest area.

Acid flows back into the oesophagus because the LES valve doesn’t get closed properly after the food passage. LES ( Lower oesophagal sphincter) is basically a circular muscle which joins stomach and oesophagus and is responsible for tightening them so that acid doesn’t regurgitate but if LES gets opened promptly or is weak, it causes chest pain.

If Acid Reflux occurs more than twice a week, Dude ! you need to pay attention because this problem is more chronic and becomes gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). But relax! Everything in this beautiful world has got a solution and we would eradicate it as well.

Am I Having It?

Often experiencing Dry cough or Chest pain? Sore throat or Bitter taste in the back of the throat? Bad breath or having trouble in swallowing? Constipation or Indigestion? You immediately need to get it checked by the doctor! It has actually become a lifestyle disease.

The Facts

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Traditionally, GERD has been thought to be a disease of the Western countries. Thereby, the prevalence rate has been estimated to be lower in Asia when compared to the western world ( <5% vs. 10% to 20%). But scores of people are falling prey in India as well.

According to the task force of Indian Society of Gastroenterology, around 7.6 % of the population was found to be suffering from acid reflux across six major cities of India. And the amazing fact is nearly 70% of the population was aged below 50. GERD was found to be more prevalent among males at 58.6 % in research conducted at Gandhi Hospital.

How Does It Happen?

Acid reflux can occur because of the following stated factors:

  • Miserable Lifestyle: Obesity, indulgence in more than normal alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep, lack of physical exercise.
  • Unhealthy Eating Habits: Skipping meals, not eating at regular intervals, lying down right after a meal, snacking close to bedtime (though it feels heaven your stomach is going to hell), having carbonated aerated drinks like Pepsi, Coke, Soda, excess tea, coffee, acidic foods such as lemon and oranges, fatty food items like burgers, pizza etc.
  • Medicine Side Effects: Drugs used to cure high blood pressure, anxiety and depression can cause acid reflux. Sometimes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs lead to this issue. So you need to consult your physician before popping up pills on your own.
  • Existing Medical Conditions: As we all know one medical condition directly proportionates the existing health. Issues like asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia which pressurizes the LES are likely to increase your chances of getting GERD.

Get Out! GERD

Yes! This is the USP of this article! How can you minimize or eradicate it? And trust me! There are oodles of options available. All we need is your commitment towards them.

Medication

Antacids like Maalox, Alka-Seltzer, Mylanta, Rolaids are best but they come with side effects of constipation and diarrhoea if consumed for an extended duration. But to counteract these gastrointestinal side effects, it is best to use antacids that have both Magnesium Hydroxide and Aluminium Hydroxide.
But But But! These antacids should be used by patients who suffer from acid reflux rarely. They provide instant but short term relief and if a need arises to take them regularly, discuss with your physician!

People who experience acid reflux frequently, the main treatment options available for them are PPIs and H2 blockers. PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) reduce acid production and Prokinetics help strengthen LES and reduce your stomach faster.

Using Gaviscon is considered one of the best-known heartburn therapies. It varies slightly in action by becoming a mechanical barrier against stomach acid. It consists of alginic acid.

Lifestyle Modification

But guys just popping these pills will not solve the problem. They are good enough to eradicate the symptoms only when combined with a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

  • Aim for optimum weight and if you have a beautiful round pouch, reduce it. Excessive fat around abdomen puts more pressure on the stomach and increases the risk of acid bounce back.
  • Avoid tight clothing, especially tight bottoms and belts. They cause unnecessary pressure around the abdomen. For the sake of heartburn risk, loosen up your clothing.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking!
  • Reduce caffeine in your diet because it weakens the LES.
  • Chew gum especially that contains bicarbonate because it increases saliva production.
  • Avoid raw onions.
  • A strict no to carbonated drinks and mint.
  • Minimize chocolates and citrus juices in your diet.
  • Have the last meal three hours before sleeping! Acid Reflux sufferers! And do not sleep on your right side.
  • Say a big NO to spicy food if you regularly face acid reflux. They include hot peppers, hot sauces, red chilli pepper flakes, cayenne, Wasabi paste etc.
  • Include a banana or an apple in your daily diet since they contain natural antacids.
  • Have cold milk instead of hot and see the difference. Calcium is one of the main ingredients in OTC antacids. Calcium absorbs the excessive acid produced and is very helpful in preventing acid reflux.
  • In case of severe indigestion and acidity, combine 1 tbsp of ginger and lemon juice with 2 tbsp. of honey in warm water. It will reduce your pain associated with acidity and boost your metabolism as well.
  • Do not remain empty stomach for long. Eat small portions of food at regular intervals.
  • And last but definitely not the least; include 30 min of exercise in your daily routine.

Adding yoga to your treatment plan will relieve stress and improve your condition. The following yogasanas are time-tested solutions for acid-flux sufferers

  • Halasana
  • Ushtra asana
  • Vajrasana
  • Pawanamuktasana
  • Marjariasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Virbhadrasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Balasana

Surgery

If your GERD is severe and medications and lifestyle modifications are unable to completely resolve it and symptoms are interfering with your daily life, Surgical intervention known as Fundoplication may be needed.

The second most approved procedure involves surgically placing a ring known as a LINX device around the outside of the lower end of the oesophagus. As per a study, patients were able to stop their medicines or cut down the amount after LINX placement. The drawback is that the patients who opt for LINX placement cannot go for an MRI in their lifetime.

Hence, surgery is the last opted solution for acid flux.

Bottom Line

These ailments are like icebergs barely showing their heads in the polar seas. As long as they are not studiously controlled and eradicated, peace lies far from you.
Image via Pixabay

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About the Author

Smriti Wadhwa

A software engineer by degree and a writer by choice, Greetings from my side! i realized my passion for writing when i switched my job. Gratitude to the people who helped me in moving forward. read more...

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