Health: Acid reflux (heartburn)


Despite the name heartburn which is commonly known as acid reflux (because of the characteristic cause), heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, rather, it is a digestive disease that affects the throat (So don’t be too afraid). Acid reflux is a burning sensation felt in the chest region, it occurs when the acid produced by the stomach moves up into the esophagus when the lower esophageal sphincter (a valve serving as the separator to the esophagus and the stomach) which closes up after a food intake does not close up properly. This could be due to contraction problem or a disease called hiatal hernia.
Symptoms such as “heartburn”(literarily), a discomforting pain around the upper cheat region is felt when one has acid reflux. Other symptoms include;

  • A rapid unconscious regurgitation of sour or bitter acid into the mouth. This regurgitated element does not come as acid literally, but a mix of recently taken food along with it.
  • vomiting.
  • Hiccup,
  • Sore throat.
  • Difficulty or irritation swallowing food.
  • wheezing.
  • asthma and pneumonia
  • nausea

Acid reflux can last hours and tends to get worse when its victim lies on their back.
Acid reflux and heartburn more than twice a week may indicate GERD. GERD can be a problem if it is not treated because, over time, the reflux of stomach acid damages the tissue lining, causing pain from bleeding, ulcer, and inflammation of the esophagus. In adults, long-lasting, untreated GERD can lead to permanent damage to the esophagus and sometimes even cancer.

Acid reflux causes.

  • Obesity.
  • Sleeping on the back right after or not long after eating or the intake of a heavy meal.
  • Consumption of spicy food, caffeine, and certain beverages.
  • High consumption of table salt.
  • The use of pain killers like aspirin, the use of asthmatic drugs, or an allergic reaction to some other drugs.
  • Smoking.
  • Frequently wearing tight clothes.
  • Pregnant women are also at risk of having acid reflux.
  • hiatal hernia, a disease that is characterized by the bulging out of the stomach into the chest cavity.

Prevention of acid reflux

As some of the causes of acid reflux like pregnancy and hiatal hernia cannot be prevented, other acid reflux triggers can be prevented.
One of the major bad habits that trigger acid reflux is lying down after eating. Especially after supper. Do not lie down within 2 hours after eating. Get engaged, watch TV, or read a book.
Instead of taking one heavy meal. Several little meals, spread at intervals in a day is advisable.
Sticking with anti-reflux dieting
Quit smoking.
Lose some weight in case of obesity.

Acid reflux medication

Although the acid from acid flux is harmless as it is, proper medication need to be taken to prevent the re occurrence of the irritating and unhealthy symptoms.

  • over the counter antacids can be used as remedies for acid flux, also, the use of H2 blockers, (examples include cimetidine and famotidine). This function by reducing the acid production in the stomach resultantly preventing against the effect of such acid produced. But it can also lead to the malnutrition of the user due to minimal nutrient absorption from food intake, other side effects of h2 drugs include headache, diarrhea, dizziness, rashes, and gynecomastia.

Although heartburn is self-diagnosed, you need to see a doctor when there is a consistent occurrence of these symptoms in order to avoid wrong diagnosis and complications as heartburn could be symptoms of other health conditions like stomach ulcer, gastritis,
and esophagitis.

Please drop comments in the comment session, let’s know your thoughts on the topic.


Idowu David

Architect | Storyteller | poet | Mental health advocate. And a Lover of all people.

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