GERD & Acid Reflux Cure
Does this mean if you lose weight you'll never experience heartburn again? Not necessarily, especially if your heartburn is caused by other conditions, such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or if certain foods trigger your heartburn. There are also people who suffer from heartburn who have never been overweight. But if you are overweight or obese, losing weight is good for you even if the heartburn episodes don't entirely disappear. Studies have found when patients lose even 5 to 10 percent of their excess weight, they begin to have fewer heartburn episodes.
Heartburn happens when acidic juices from the stomach splash into the esophagus. Normally, a muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), keeps the acid solution in the stomach and out of the esophagus. Smoking decreases the strength of the esophageal valve, thereby allowing stomach acids to reflux, or flow backward into the esophagus.
Smoking also seems to promote the movement of bile salts from the intestine to the stomach, which makes the stomach acids more harmful. Finally, smoking may directly injure the esophagus, making it less able to resist further damage from refluxed fluids.
Why is this so? Doctors are not really sure, but smoking does seem to be one of several factors that work together to promote the formation of ulcers.
For example, some research suggests that smoking might increase a person's risk of infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Most peptic ulcers are caused by this bacterium.
Stomach acid is also important in producing ulcers. Normally, most of this acid is buffered by the food we eat. Most of the unbuffered acid that enters the duodenum is quickly neutralized by sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occurring alkali produced by the pancreas. Some studies show that smoking reduces the bicarbonate produced by the pancreas, interfering with the neutralization of acid in the duodenum. Other studies suggest that chronic cigarette smoking may increase the amount of acid secreted by the stomach.
Whatever causes the link between smoking and ulcers, two points have been repeatedly demonstrated: People who smoke are more likely to develop an ulcer, especially a duodenal ulcer, and ulcers in smokers are less likely to heal quickly in response to otherwise effective treatment. This research tracing the relationship between smoking and ulcers strongly suggests that a person with an ulcer should stop smoking.
The esophagus and stomach are connected by a band of muscle fibers called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES works like a valve, opening to allow food to pass into the stomach and closing to keep food and digestive juices from flowing back into the esophagus. But if the sphincter relaxes when it shouldn't, or becomes weak, stomach acid can flow backward into the esophagus causing the burning sensation we know as heartburn.
There are other factors that also may contribute to reflux. Some people have abnormal muscle or nerve function in the stomach that affects motility, the ability of the stomach muscles to contract in a normal fashion. This results in food spending more time in the stomach, increasing the chance of acid seeping back into the esophagus.
Other medical conditions that may contribute to GERD include asthma, diabetes and a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which there is an opening in the diaphragm, the muscular wall below the lungs that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity – permitting the upper stomach to protrude through the hole into the chest, impairing the LES's ability to prevent reflux.
Often, more than one of these factors contributes to the development of GERD, only underscoring the importance of consulting with your physician for the appropriate diagnosis and course of treatment. Understanding the body's digestive system can help heartburn sufferers understand their symptoms, make helpful lifestyle modifications and communicate with their doctors.
In a recent study, researchers in Sweden had set out to identify the lifestyle factors that can cause acid reflux, and they came to some surprising conclusions. While smoking, as expected, strongly increases the risk for developing acid reflux disease, drinking alcohol had little impact. The same was found true with coffee and tea.
Does this mean that if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD--commonly referred to as acid reflux disease) you can drink alcohol, coffee, and tea with no reflux problems? No. While this study shows alcohol, coffee, and tea don't appear to cause acid reflux disease, they can still make reflux symptoms worse in those diagnosed with the disease.
As stated by Magnus Nilsson, MD, of Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital: "We know that drinking alcohol causes symptoms to occur in people who already have acid reflux disease, so we were quite surprised to find that long-term use did not increase the risk of developing it."
For those individuals who don't have GERD, alcohol consumption doesn't increase your risk of developing GERD. There are other factors, however, that will increase your risk of developing acid reflux disease.
It has been known for quite some time that smoking increases the risk of developing acid reflux disease, and worsens symptoms in those who suffer from it. What wasn't widely known was that people who had smoked every day for more than 20 years are 70 more likely to have acid reflux than non-smokers.
What hasn't been known, and what researchers found in the above mentioned study, is that people who ate large amounts of salt had a similar increase in risk for developing acid reflux disease as smokers do. Table salt hasn't been previously implicated as a trigger for acid reflux, but this study found that there was a 70 increased risk of developing acid reflux among those who always used extra table salt daily compared with those who did not.
Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at New York University Medical Center, offers one possible for salt being a cause for acid reflux. She said it's possible that the people who are adding a lot of salt to their food may also be eating greasier foods, foods which may increase their risk of heartburn.
GERD - Acid Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents reflux back up into the esophagus.
Children and GERD
Children, and even infants, can suffer from heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Here you'll find information on childhood acid reflux and treatment information.
An ulcer is an area of the stomach or duodenal (the first part of the small intestine) lining that becomes eroded by the stomach acid. Known individually as stomach and duodenal ulcers, collectively they are known as peptic ulcers. Learn about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and complications involved with peptic ulcers.
Some people suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux disease because they have a hiatal hernia. Learn what a hiatal hernia is, and how to live with it.
Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Several things can cause gastritis, one of which is chronic bile reflux. Although it doesn't cause heartburn, some of the symptoms are similar to those produced by heartburn, and it's treated in a similar way to GERD, by taking medication to reduce stomach acid.
Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. One of the symptoms is heartburn.
Coffee, tea, and other drinks that contain caffeine
Caffeine can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus.
Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine (a compound that occurs naturally in many plants such as cocoa, tea and coffee plants), which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus.
Fried and fatty foods
These foods tend to slow down digestion, keeping the food in your stomach longer. This can result in increases pressure in the stomach, which in turn puts more pressure on a weakened LES, allowing reflux of stomach contents.
Tomatoes and tomato-based products
These foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It also increases the production of stomach acid.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke weaken the LES as they pass from the lungs into the blood.
A full stomach can put extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which will increase the chance that some of this food will reflux into the esophagus.
Citrus fruits and juices
These foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Eating within 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime
Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the LES, increasing the chances of refluxed food.
Wearing tight fitting clothing
Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen will squeeze the stomach, forcing food up against the LES, and cause food to reflux into the esophagus. Clothing that can cause problems include tight-fitting belts and slenderizing undergarments.
Gastroesophageal RefluxTreatment Options. Latest Advances. Trustworthy, Current Report. www.medifocus.com
Causes Of Acid RefluxFind the Best Results & Information on Causes Of Acid Reflux. www.ask.com
Indigestion is a vague feeling of discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen and chest, including a feeling of fullness and bloating, accompanied by belching and nausea. Occasionally, heartburn is one of the symptoms. It is a common problem, and can be triggered by several things. These include eating particular foods, drinking alcoholic or carbonated beverages, eating too fast or too much, eating fatty or spicy foods, drinking too much caffeine, or eating too much high-fiber foods. Symptoms have also been shown to be worsened by anxiety and depression.
Common causes of indigestion:
Other causes of indigestion:
Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ulcer or occasionally cancer, anyone experiencing the following symptoms in addition to indigestion should consult with their doctor.
Immediate medical attention is needed for anyone who experiences either of the following symptoms:
The truth is, almost all stomach ulcers are caused either by infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or by use of pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, the so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Most H. pylori-related ulcers can be cured with antibiotics. NSAID-induced ulcers can be cured with time, stomach-protective medications, antacids, and avoidance of NSAIDs. Spicy food and stress may aggravate ulcer symptoms in some people, but they do not cause ulcers. Ulcers can also be caused by cancer.
Actually, cigarette smoking contributes to heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)--a muscle between the esophagus and stomach--relaxes, allowing the acidic contents of the stomach to splash back into the esophagus. Cigarette smoking causes the LES to relax.
Celiac disease affects both children and adults. About 1 in 200 people in the United States have celiac disease. Sometimes celiac disease first causes symptoms during childhood, usually diarrhea, growth failure, and failure to thrive. But the disease can also first cause symptoms in adults of any age. These symptoms may be vague and therefore attributed to other conditions. Symptoms can include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin rash, anemia, and thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). Celiac disease may cause such nonspecific symptoms for several years before being correctly diagnosed and treated.
People with celiac disease should not eat any foods containing gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley, whether they have symptoms or not. In celiac disease, gluten destroys part of the lining of the small intestine, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Even a small amount of gluten can cause damage, and sometimes no symptoms will be apparent.
The frequency of bowel movements among normal, healthy people varies from three a day to three a week, and some perfectly healthy people fall outside both ends of this range.
Habitual use of enemas is not harmless. Over time, enemas can impair the natural muscle action of the intestines, leaving them unable to function normally. An ongoing need for enemas is not normal; you should see a doctor if you find yourself relying on them or any other medication to have a bowel movement.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disease, although it is also called a functional disorder. Irritable bowel syndrome involves a problem in how the muscles in the intestines work and pain perception in the bowel. It is characterized by gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. Although the syndrome can cause considerable pain and discomfort, it does not damage the digestive tract as organic diseases do. Also, irritable bowel syndrome does not lead to more serious digestive diseases later, such as cancer.
Actually, the majority of Americans over age 60 have diverticulosis, but only a small percentage have symptoms or complications. Diverticulosis is a condition in which little sacs or out-pouchings called diverticula develop in the wall of the colon. These sacs tend to appear and increase in number with age. Most people have no symptoms and learn that they have diverticula after an x ray or intestinal examination. Less than 10 percent of people with diverticulosis ever develop complications such as infection (diverticulitis), bleeding, or perforation of the colon.
Heartburn is a digestive symptom that occurs when stomach acid comes into contact with the lining of the esophagus, causing irritation.
The symptoms of heartburn include a burning sensation behind your breastbone that may also travel to your throat. Other symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, persistent cough, and a sour taste in the mouth. Symptoms can get worse soon after you eat or if you lie down shorty after eating.
There are various causes of heartburn. These causes include eating foods that can trigger heartburn, pregnancy, asthma, diabetes, and hiatal hernias.
You can eliminate the heartburn in a number of ways, including chewing gum (although for some patients this worsens the pain), drinking seltzer, or taking an antacid. If you have frequent heartburn, you should see your doctor for evaluation. If you are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your doctor may suggest the use of H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for relief from heartburn. First steps, however, will be to make some lifestyle modifications and avoid foods that can cause heartburn.
A peptic ulcer is an erosion or sore that forms either in the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcer) or in the lining of the duodenum (duodenal ulcer).
Symptoms of a peptic ulcer vary from patient to patient, but can include a burning or gnawing pain in your stomach that often feels worse when your stomach is empty, and better after you have eaten.
The most frequent cause of a peptic ulcer is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Other causes of peptic ulcers may include alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The most common NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium.
Treatment of peptic ulcers depends on the cause. If the cause is H. pylori, the standard treatment is antibiotics. A proton pump inhibitor may also be prescribed. If NSAIDS are the cause of your ulcer, you should stop taking them. During the healing process for an NSAID-induced ulcer, your doctor may recommend the use of antacids to neutralize the acid, and H2-blockers or proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid production.
There are two types of gallstones -- cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are the most common type of gallstone, occurring in approximately 80% of patients with gallstones. Cholesterol stones are made mostly of hardened cholesterol, and are usually yellowish-green in color. Pigment stones are made of bilirubin, and are usually small and dark in color.
Symptoms of gallstones can include pain in the upper abdomen that rapidly worsens and can last from a few minutes to a few hours, nausea and/or vomiting, and heartburn. Gallstone pain often feels sharper and more localized than heartburn or ulcer pain. If the pain doesn't go away within a few hours, or if you are vomiting or have a fever, you should go to your doctor.
Causes of gallstones are usually the result of too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile. There are risk factors for developing gallstones, and these can be a combination of factors, including heredity, body chemistry, body type, gender, and maybe even diet.
Treatment of gallstones depends partly on whether you are experiencing symptoms or not. If you have symptoms, especially severe pain, surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most common treatment. If you have no symptoms, you and your doctor may decide that no treatment is needed.