Hiatal Hernia: A Medical Cause Of Acid Reflux
A hiatal hernia is a common cause of acid reflux, particularly as you get older. It happens when a small part of your stomach pushes up into your chest. The root cause isnt known, but it is attributed to weakened muscle tissue around the diaphragm for a variety of reasons, a flat muscle in the chest which helps with the breathing mechanism.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent a hiatus hernia forming. It is more common in people over 50 years of age. The symptoms are the same as acid reflux symptoms in adults, and there are treatments available which you can discuss with a doctor.
Why Is This Happening
Everybody needs acid in their stomach it helps break down food for digestion and kills bacteria. Its a defense mechanism and its pretty strong, Ergun says. Normally, you dont buy things to clean your house that are as strong as stomach acid. But the stuff in your stomach doesnt usually come up into your chest. There are mechanisms that the body has created for that.
At the bottom of the esophagus is a circular band of muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, which separates it from the stomach. It generally remains closed, but when we eat and swallow, this valve relaxes to let food and liquid pass through to the stomach, then closes again. Acid reflux occurs when the valve opens when its not supposed to, so the stomach contents be they food, acid or digestive juices flow backward.
Its normal for that valve to open from time to time, allowing us to let out a discreet burp. But problematic reflux can cause heartburn, especially after a meal or when you lie down to doze. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is chronic acid reflux that becomes problematic. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, its believed that as many as 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from it.
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Constant Nausea Bloating Stomach Pains And Acid Reflux
Ever since i was 7 years old, iv been feeling constantly sick, i will go a couple of years of feeling really sick 24/7 then a couple of years feeling fine. It just comes and goes over long periods of time. This time i have been feeling constantly sick, anxious, bloated, acid refluxes and stomach pains. I have to mention i have a fear of vomiting and all these feelings only makes my fear worse, i haven’t put my life on hold from . I also have trouble going to the toilet sometimes i quite often get constipated. Im only 23 years old, male by the way and i cant go out drinking with friends, go out for meals or even holidays because i feel like throwing up all the time, its just a nightmare!! I don’t even know what normal feels like anymore all i feel is SICK, NAUSEA AND DISCOMFORT, its so distressing and makes me angry sometimes. Does anyone have any answers or idea to what this might be? Or ever experienced this before? Would very much appreciated your views
5 likes, 100 replies
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What Aggravates Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD
Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.
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Are There Rare Acid Reflux Symptoms
Although a common gastrointestinal condition, not all acid reflux symptoms are shared by patients. Some only experience heartburn and regurgitation, which are two distinct signs of acid reflux. Others may exhibit symptoms that stray from the usual list.
Listed below are some of the usual concerns on uncommon acid reflux symptoms. Keep in mind that the majority of these are caused by chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease and may not be relevant to patients with temporary acid reflux.
If so, a separate issue not related to acid reflux may be the cause of the following symptoms:
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How Are Gerd And Sleep Related
GERD is often cited as a cause of sleeping problems, including in the National Sleep Foundations 2001 Sleep in America Poll. In a more recent survey of people with frequent heartburn, nearly 60% said it affected their sleep, and more than 30% said it hurt their daytime functioning.
Flare ups of GERD symptoms after lying down can make it hard to fall asleep and can cause nighttime interruptions from heartburn, chest pain, and coughing. Studies in sleep clinics of people with GERD have found that these symptoms are correlated with lower sleep quality.
Arm Pain: Heartburn Or Something Else
Heart attack survivors often recount their first symptom as a heartburn-like sensation. Many patients explicitly use the word heartburn when recounting their cardiac experience. Patients often realize that their heartburn is in fact not reflux-related but heart-related when:
- There is a pain radiating up the arm, specifically the left arm
- They have no history of acid reflux
- There is a burning sensation in the chest
- They have not eaten anything prior to the pain
- The pain doesnt go away with antacid
If your heartburn symptoms dont go away after taking an antacid, and are accompanied by arm pain and back pain, we suggest going to an emergency facility immediately to get medical help.
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Chronic Sinusitis In Gerd Patients
A group of Taiwanese doctors tried to understand the relationship between GERD and chronic rhinosinusitis. Chronic rhinosinusitis is caused by inflammation in the sinus. This interferes with a patients ability to breathe and perceive smell and even taste.
Other symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:
- Chronic congestion
- Postnasal drainage, or feeling mucus on the back of the throat
- Thick discharge from nose
- Tenderness around eyes, nose, cheeks
- Ear pain
Although the direct cause of CRS remains unclear, doctors noticed that patients with GERD also tend to develop CRS. After observing the patients for around 2 years, scientists found that patients with GERD were at a higher risk of developing CRS than healthy patients. This same group was also more likely to develop a form of CRS that occurs without nasal polyps.
Possible reasons for the increased risk include:
- Prolonged exposure to stomach contents in the esophagus may have reached the nasopharynx, which directly connects to the nasal cavity
- Constant exposure to reflux material could contribute to the development of CRS
- The acid, pepsin, trypsin, and bile being regurgitated can damage parts of the sinus that lead to sinus dysfunction and create an environment for invasive bacteria to grow
Its A Matter Of Life And Death That You Naturally Address Your Acid Reflux Immediately Today
Dont put it off another day!
Plus, these drugs cost a fortune
When my insurance company stopped copaying for my medication a few years back, I had to shuffle out over $5000 a year for heartburn prescriptions.
Even after I turned to cheaper over-the-counter PPIs, I was still paying close to $2000 a year for drugs that were actually murdering me.
Okay, finally, some good news:
Additional testing luckily revealed that my cancer diagnosis was a false alarm false positive, they called it.
At that point, however, I was informed enough to realize I had gotten a second chance at life
but it wouldnt last long unless I cured my acid reflux as soon as possible.
PPI and other heartburn medications only temporarily mask the symptoms. They do not cure your acid reflux or GERD.
Therefore, they do nothing to protect you from dying from cancer and other causes.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
What Is The Treatment For Acid Reflux
There are treatments available specifically for treating acid reflux, what youll need will depend on the severity and whats causing the problem. If you have chronic heartburn, its essential to ask your doctor because acid reflux can cause severe damage to your oesophagus if left untreated.
If the problem is chronic or severe, a doctor can prescribe medications which inhibit the production of gastric juices for acid reflux relief and prevent the damage it causes. The medications often prescribed are proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers.
FACT Acid reflux medications, even over the counter ones, change stomach acidity, and this can have consequences on your digestive health.
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What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
Overeating And Back Pain
Dumping large amounts of food in your stomach puts enormous strain on the digestion.
The tell-tale signs of digestive distress as a result of overeating are stomach aches, bloating and indigestion.
As the stomach bloats and expands it puts stress on the spine and back muscles causing discomfort and pain.
But you can easily remedy the problem with a simple lifestyle change.
Rather than sitting down to 3 heavy meals a day or binge eating at the down town all you can eat buffet…
You can still eat as much as by eating smaller quantities frequently throughout the day.
Your digestion will thank you for it as its better able to cope with smaller quantities of food and liquid.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Dizziness
Dizziness and acid reflux are rarely associated with each other. However, personal accounts show that acid reflux, specifically GERD can also lead to dizziness in patients. This dizziness is often characterized as lightheadedness, weakness, and a temporarily blurry vision.
Dizziness and Acid Reflux: Is There a Link?
While dizziness is not often listed as a common symptom of acid reflux, a study suggests that there is a link between peripheral vertigo and acid reflux.
Scientists suggest that patients who experience dizziness alongside their acid reflux may be due to gastric acids irritating the ear, which could lead to ear infections.
The study reported that 77.6% of patients with peripheral vertigo were also diagnosed with acid reflux compared to 26% of patients without reflux symptoms.
Although further studies are required to finalize the findings, the researchers suggest that reflux contents such as Hydrochloric acid and pepsin could get into the middle ear through the Eustachian tube and affect the ear directly. This can cause tinnitus or a perceived ringing of the ears.
Another way acid reflux could cause dizziness is through bacterial infection. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori can travel further up the esophagus through reflux contents and reach the upper respiratory tract. This could cause scarred ear drum , leading to dizziness.
Learn more: Can Acid Reflux Cause Sinus and Ear Problems?
How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
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What Is Acid Reflux
Theres a ringlike muscle where your esophagus meets your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter . A properly working LES protects the esophagus from the acid in your stomach by keeping the pathway between them clenched shut.
When the LES is loose or too relaxed, acidic gastric juices can bubble up into your esophagus, which is a major cause of acid reflux.
A little bit of reflux is normal. But if you have excessive stomach acid in your esophagus, youre likely to be in a lot of discomfort.
Its very common, says Naveen Narahari, MD, of REX Digestive Healthcare. On any given week, 60 percent of the adult population might have some kind of reflux. But we look closely at patients who have symptoms frequently over the course of a week.
Three or more times a week is cause for concern, adds Ruth Mokeba, MD, of REX Digestive Healthcare, as well as high intensity of symptoms. We can help these patients improve their quality of life and hopefully reduce their chances of developing a more serious disease like Barretts esophagus or esophageal cancer.
A complication of long-term GERD, Barretts esophagus changes a patients esophageal lining. This tissue damage leads to an increased risk of cancer.
Is Dyspepsia A Serious Condition
Most often, medicine can take care of this condition.
Sometimes dyspepsia can be the sign of a serious problemfor example, a deep stomach ulcer.
If you have dyspepsia, talk to your family doctor. This is especially important if any one of the following is true for you:
You’re over 50 years of age
You recently lost weight without trying to
You have trouble swallowing
You have black, tarry bowel movements
You can feel a mass in your stomach area
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you experience frequent and/or severe heartburn, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. If you’re taking over-the-counter medication for heartburn like Prevacid or Prilosec more than twice a week, you should also talk to your healthcare provider.
GERD Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
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How To Heal Damage From Acid Reflux
This article was medically reviewed by Michael Warner, MD. Dr. Warner is a practicing Internal Medicine Physician and Medical Director in Toronto. He received his MD from Queens University School of Medicine in 2004 and his MBA from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management in 2010.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 87% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 137,964 times.
Studies show that patients who experience acid reflux may suffer from esophageal damage accompanied by irritation, inflammation, and pain that is caused by stomach acid.XResearch source Its wise to focus on long-term treatment of your acid reflux in order to allow the esophagus time to heal to prevent long-term damage. Experts note that through lifestyle changes and medication, you can heal your esophagus and keep your digestive system in working order.XResearch source
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When Do Acid Reflux Symptoms Occur
Acid reflux symptoms most often occur:
- After eating a heavy meal
- When bending over or lifting an object
- When lying down, especially on your back
People who have frequent acid reflux symptoms most often experience them at night. Nighttime GERD also produces the most pain. However, the level of pain does not always indicate the degree of damage to your esophagus.
More than half of all pregnant women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Increased hormones and pressure from a growing fetus can combine to produce this acid reflux symptom. In most cases, heartburn improves or completely goes away after delivery.
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