Living With Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is becoming more prevalent than ever before in our society as more and more people receive this diagnosis.  But what exactly does it mean?  What causes it?  What are the symptoms?   And most importantly, what can you do about it?

Acid reflux, sometimes called GERD, occurs when the acid from your stomach washes back up into your esophagus.   The symptoms are not always what one would typically expect.  We think that it is just heartburn but the truth is many sufferers may have never experienced heartburn and still have acid reflux.  Symptoms such as a chronic sore throat, difficulty swallowing, postnasal drip, hoarseness or constant throat clearing are also common symptoms.

Acid reflux is hereditary but there are risk factors beyond that.  Being overweight can make you more likely to have acid reflux.  Smoking contributes to the risk for the disease.  Sometimes the cause remains unknown.

There are certain foods and beverages that will make your reflux flare up.  Foods such as pizza or barbecue can cause a flare due to their spicy nature.  In addition, garlic, fried foods, mint or citrus foods will likely cause a problem.  Beverages such as coffee, tea, sodas and citrus juices could cause your acid reflux to bother you.

There are other lifestyle factors that can flare your acid reflux, such as lying down too soon after a meal or some medications.

So, what should you do if you think you have reflux?  If it is active enough to bother you beyond once in a great while, make an appointment with your doctor and take a list of your symptoms to share with them.  From there, they will likely prescribe a medication to help you find relief.  The most popular line of drugs for acid reflux are proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid.  There are other medications available also.  The important thing is that you get your acid reflux under control so that you can get back to living your normal life, uninterrupted by bothersome symptoms.


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