Why Heartburn and Acid Reflux Occur and What Is GERD? – Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Have you ever wondered why heartburn and acid reflux occur and why it creates a burning sensation in your chest and makes it feel like part of your lunch is stuck in your throat? Have you ever wondered what is GERD and how does it affect you? I’ve provided some definitions below to help clear up the confusion.Although used interchangeably, there is a difference between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD (you may hear some people call it gastro reflux disease, but it’s medical term is gastroesophageal reflux disease).Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid regurgitates up into the esophagus. That stomach reflux is the cause of heartburn. However, it’s possible you may feel no pain at all when stomach reflux occurs.
Heartburn (also known as pyrosis) is a sensation of tightness, pain or discomfort in the middle of the chest that can – but doesn’t always – follow an occurrence of acid reflux. Heartburn is exactly what it would feel like if acid ate away at the lining of your esophagus, because that’s what’s happening.
Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the result of frequent acid reflux. This is a chronic condition relating to the malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (which I’ll discuss in a moment) and aggravated by lifestyle factors that include obesity, certain acidic foods, smoking, alcohol, and consumption of large meals.Heartburn is oftentimes falsely associated with a heart attack (some call it a heartburn heart attack). But in reality it has nothing to do with the heart. So where is heartburn occurring in your body and why do people get the two confused sometimes? Well the reason for the confusion is that the burning sensation is felt at the breastbone, the spot where the heart is located. One way you can decipher if you’re having heartburn or a heart disease related condition such as a heart attack is that heartburn pain is less likely to be associated with physical activity. On the other hand, exercise may actually aggravate the pain experienced in a heart attack.If you thought you were the only one suffering through the pain of heartburn, you’re definitely not alone. According to studies, about 30% of adults experience occasional heartburn, while 10% experience heartburn almost every day.Heartburn is common, and an occasional episode is generally nothing to worry about. However, many people have already considered heartburn as an uncomfortable condition that requires medication or medical attention.Below is a brief overview that shows exactly why heartburn and acid reflux occur…As you eat, the food that you swallow travels from the mouth to the stomach through a hollow tube called the esophagus.
Before food enters the stomach, it must pass through a tight muscle at the lower part of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES prevents food from traveling backward into the esophagus.
Once food reaches your stomach, acid slowly digests the food. This acid is very strong and can damage most parts of the body. But fortunately, the stomach is protected from its own acid by a special mucous layer.
The esophagus, however, does not have this same mucous layer for protection. If the lower esophageal sphincter does not close completely, the lower part of the esophagus can be damaged by stomach acid. When this happens, heartburn is experienced and the miserable burning feeling begins.Heartburn usually feels like a burning chest pain beginning behind the breastbone and moving upward to the neck and throat. Many people say it feels like food is coming back into the mouth leaving an acidic or bitter taste.

Heartburn and Acid Reflux – You Can Easily Overcome This Most Painful Complaint – Heartburn and Acid Reflux

If you frequently suffer from heartburn you’ll know how debilitating and painful it can be, especially if you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep at the time. But you may not know that there are several easy ways of overcoming it and preventing its recurrence.In this article you’re going to learn about the various causes of it, how it can be avoided by simply changing a few habits, and how you can get rid of it quickly and with minimum fuss if it does strike (without resorting to questionable drugs or over-the-counter medications that often have unwanted side effects).Whatever the immediate causes of heartburn may be, and there are several, the one distinguishing feature of this complaint, compared to most other complaints or illnesses, is that it is nearly always a voluntary complaint. That is, it is brought on usually by the sufferer’s own activities immediately before the attack.Let’s consider what’s involved for a moment. Your whole body in general, and your digestive system in particular, is a miracle of nature. It takes the food you eat, in all its forms, and processes it, often under very difficult circumstances. It digests it, removing waste material, and sends the rest of it on its way via your blood stream. It feeds your muscles, your brain and all your other vital organs.But if you make things a little too difficult for it, then it will complain in the form of heartburn, or acid reflux. And be assured you will most definitely know about it. It can cause so much pain that the sufferer sometimes thinks he is having a heart attack.So give your digestive system a little more care and consideration and you’ll have little to fear. In order to do this, we’ll take a brief look at what happens in there to cause this most unpleasant pain.One of the functions of the stomach is to break down the food we eat in preparation for digestion. It does this with the aid of certain naturally produced acids, including the highly corrosive hydrochloric acid. This is only possible because the stomach has a protective lining that prevents these digestive juices, mainly acids, from digesting the stomach itself.All well and good as long as everything stays where it is supposed to be. But if for some reason stomach acid escapes through the little flap, which is all that separates the stomach from the oesophagus (the tube that connects your stomach with your mouth) then it attacks the walls of the oesophagus, which have no protective lining.If you’re a sufferer then the first thing you have to do is examine your activities before each attack to see if you can prevent this from ever happening again. The activity that causes most attacks is eating too quickly. Interrupting your meal to carry out some activity, especially one involving some degree of physical effort, is another main cause.Stress and failure to relax while eating, mixing foods that “fight”, such as fries and dairy products, e.g. milk, eating cold foods straight out of the refrigerator before they can revert to room temperature, and drinking hot drinks without waiting for them to cool to a temperature more in line with that of your body. All these things can also cause heartburn.Lying down too soon after a meal can also set it off, as can simply eating over-sized meals. But all this advice isn’t of any immediate use to you if you are right now suffering from an attack of heartburn. So let’s have a quick look at what you can do to see it on its way when it does strike.The first thing is not to lie flat. That will only make it easier for the acid escaping into your oesophagus to continue to do so and prolong the pain. Sit upright. That will help keep the acid where it belongs and cause it to retreat from your oesophagus back into your stomach.If you are about to go to bed, see if you can raise the head of the bed by five or six inches, to assist in forcing the acid back into your stomach. Putting a couple of extra pillows on the bed unfortunately will not help.There are certain foods to avoid at this stage. These are mainly coffee, tea, cola and other fizzy drinks, chocolate, fatty foods and alcohol. Loosening your belt can bring almost immediate relief as constriction of the stomach often leads to acid reflux and an attack of heartburn. Avoid taking prescription drugs if possible, as they can easily make an attack worse, as can some anti depressants and sedatives.There are one or two herbal remedies with a good track record of combating heartburn. The first one is ginger root, preferably in capsule form, available from drug stores. It seems the ginger absorbs the acid causing the pain, and also helps calm the nerves.The second herbal remedy is to take a teaspoonful of cider vinegar in half a glass of water. If you suffer heartburn during a meal then take this mixture by sipping it regularly throughout the meal. Strange, since cider vinegar is also acidic, but it does work. If you don’t have any cider vinegar then plain water helps bring some relief.If, in spite of the pain, you can relax and breathe deeply through the nose, try pressing the two points four finger widths below the kneecap and one finger width to the outside of the shinbone. It’s where a muscle flexes when you move your foot up and down. Hold this for one minute, and repeat, if necessary, a few minutes later. That relieves all stomach disorders and fatigue. Strange, but true.Dealing with a persistent heartburn problem, then, is a two pronged strategy – prevention and cure. Although at the time the pain makes you feel helpless, it’s important to remember that it’s not difficult to get rid of heartburn and acid reflux if you just have the right information and the will to take action.

Heartburn and Acid Reflux – A Quick Guide to Cause and Cure – Heartburn and Acid Reflux

The only real way to get longer term relief from your heartburn and acid reflux symptoms is to understand the causes of your problem and then make decisions that will work on the real problem and not just on symptoms.Heartburn is a sign that your digestive system is not working properly. Your digestive system should be able to process food, extract nutrients and pass any waste out of your body but when something is going wrong you will suffer a variety of digestive disorders which may include…· Heartburn· Acid indigestion· Stomach pain· Flatulence and Belching· ConstipationUnfortunately reaching for antacids or laxative is not a good long term solution. All these medicines do is treat the symptoms of your condition which may bring short term relief but you are likely to get recurring problemsInstead think about the causes of your problem. The most common causes for heartburn are1. A diet low in fibre2. Too much oily and high fat fast food3. Over eating4. Poor eating habitsLets take these one at a time1. If your diet is low in fibre your digestive system becomes sluggish, food spends too long in your stomach and in your intestine. You should really aim for between 24g and 30g of fibre a day, but there is no need to measure just ensure you are eating some of the following high fibre foods with each meal; oats, wholegrain cereal, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables2. Oily foods or foods that contain high levels of fat (particularly animal fats) are very hard to digest. Some meats will remain in your gut for several weeks. This makes your stomach produce more acid to break the foods down which leads to you suffering heartburn. Try to see fast foods as an occasional treat rather than as a regular part of your diet.3. We all over indulge occasionally. Eating large meals is part of the way we socialise and celebrate. The problem is that if you overfill your stomach you are stopping it doing its job properly. The stomach needs a little space so that the food can mix with gastric juices and begin to break down. If your stomach is really full acid can be forced out and into your esophagus where it causes pain and damage.4. Hands up if you regularly eat on the go, or wolf down a sandwich while working at your desk. The fast pace of modern life means we often do not take time for food. This means food is not properly chewed and eating while stressed will create a very acidic environment in your stomach. Try to take time for your food, eat slowly and take a gentle stroll after your meal. If your boss complains point out that you will probably be more productive in the afternoon if you take a proper break.By making these very simple changes to your lifestyle you are treating the heartburn problem at its root. Persist and you may never have to take over the counter remedies again.