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Acid Reflux - symptoms, causes, treatment

Acid reflux is made worse by several lifestyle factors: obesity, eating before bed, and even excessive caffeine consumption. The most important component of a treatment plan is regular exercise, as well as normalizing diet. If these are not possible, medications may help.

acid, reflux, stomach, symptoms, Acid reflux
 Acid reflux is a condition that causes indigestion, heartburn, and belching. The most common symptom is heartburn, which can be caused by the movement of food or acid past the backing of the esophagus into the throat. A person may also experience nausea or abdominal pain as a result of acid reflux. Diet and lifestyle play an important role in whether or not you will get 

symptoms:

1. Smoking - Smoking weakens the lining of the esophagus.

2. Lack of exercise - Exercise stimulates your gallbladder to produce more bile, a substance that helps digest food in the small intestine. In addition, exercise increases saliva flow and stomach acid, thus reducing the amount of acid that backs up into your esophagus.

3. Obesity - The extra weight around your waist exerts extra pressure on your abdomen and causes you to breathe less deeply, which reduces the amount of oxygen flowing through your digestive tract and counters other beneficial effects of exercise

4. Caffeine - Caffeine constricts blood vessels in your digestive tract, which can slow down the movement of food and acid through your stomach.

5. Sleeping position - Sleeping on one's back is the worst possible sleeping position; it places unnecessary pressure on the stomach and esophagus, causing acid to build up.

6. Large meals - Eating more than two hours before going to bed can cause you to sleep with a full stomach, making reflux more likely.

7. Alcohol - Alcohol promotes relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows acid to leak into your esophagus and irritate it

8. Drinking coffee - Caffeine stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder into the small intestine. However, if you drink coffee at night, you may end up sleeping with a full stomach and not have enough time to digest your food as well as exercise does.

9. Eating spicy foods - The chemicals found in spices such as chili, cayenne pepper and horseradish can narrow your esophagus, making it more sensitive to reflux. This is especially true of foods that are consumed at night

10. Eating after midnight - Certain foods contain ingredients that can irritate your esophagus late at night - this is the reason why some people do not feel well after dinner 

causes:

1. Acid reflux is usually caused by incomplete digestion of food in the stomach and small intestine. As food passes into the stomach, enzymes change it so that it is not as digestible. This causes an overabundance of acid to be produced, which can lead to heartburn or acid reflux as a result of back-up.

2. Alcohol reduces your body's ability to break down food, leading to indigestion.

3. Smoking constricts blood vessels in your digestive tract, making it less likely that the muscles in your digestive tract will contract and push food out of your stomach so that you don't digest it all at once.

4. Being overweight increases pressure on your abdomen, which may cause changes in how your digestive system works and predisposes you to acid reflux.

5. Too much gas and bloating can cause acid to accumulate in the stomach and esophagus, increasing the likelihood of solidifying into a mass

 

treatment:

1. Reduce your risk factors for acid reflux by losing weight and exercising more, especially when you want to sleep. Exercising is important because it stimulates the production of bile, which helps break down food before you digest it. Not only does exercise increase saliva flow, but also increases stomach acid production to protect against any damage from having too much acid in your stomach . 

2. As a supplement to diet, you can also take over-the-counter antacids. These medications reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, although they do not cure the problem.

3. Stop yourself from smoking and avoid alcohol. Although stopping smoking can be difficult, you need to think about the long term effects of smoking on your health - and if you are experiencing acid reflux symptoms, then it might be a good motivation for you to stop! Avoiding alcohol entirely is also important because alcohol interferes with digestion and contributes to indigestion in general .

4. The traditional treatments for heartburn and acid reflux include prescription medications that reduce excess stomach acid secretion; these are called anti-acid medications. These medications should be used with caution. Although they can reduce heartburn, they can also contribute to acid reflux by reducing stomach motility.

5. Another option for treatment is a lifestyle change – you may choose to simply avoid foods that you know predispose you to acid reflux or stomach pain, or eliminate them completely. There are lists on the internet that list foods that are known to trigger symptoms of acid reflux.

6. If lifestyle changes are not a realistic option or if these do not work, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication that reduces excess production of stomach acid and allows you to take antacids as needed (such as Tagamet and Pepcid).

7. Although the evidence for homeopathy is controversial, many patients use homeopathy to treat their acid reflux symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are natural and prevent any side effects that over-the-counter drugs may cause.

8. The last prescription medication that your doctor may prescribe is Nexium, a stronger version of Prilosec and Prevac. Nexium works as well as the others but is more expensive and can have side effects if taken too much .

9. If you have not had success with any of the other treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery to eliminate excess stomach acid production entirely – this is called fundoplication surgery

10. In some rare cases, patients who take a long time to digest food and produce excess acid may need to have their stomach removed entirely (this is called gastrectomy or total gastrectomy) 

surgery:

1.The most common surgical treatment for people with severe heartburn is called antireflux surgery or Nissen fundoplication. This surgery narrows the opening between the esophagus and stomach by wrapping it around your esophagus and tightening the wrap with a suture

2. The surgery is done laparoscopically (by using small incisions in the abdomen) and is generally very safe .  

3. The results are not immediate - another few months to a year after the surgery, you may actually have improved symptoms as the esophageal sphincter (LES) tends to heal and return to normal. Although your reflux symptoms may improve, they may come back if you do not continue with treatment

4. The surgery is very effective; it will cure your reflux symptoms 80% of the time .  

5. After a gastric bypass, people often report that their food tastes "better" after surgery because it does not get trapped in the area of their stomachs. This is because the bypass part of the operation means less distension in their stomachs as well as more saliva produced to digest food.

6. For some people, the laparoscopic procedure is not as effective as the Nissen fundoplication and they cannot tolerate it

7. The Nissen fundoplication is performed by a surgeon under general anaesthetic with sedation (so you are asleep). Your doctor will make small incisions in the abdomen (with a small camera called an endoscope) and place a band around your stomach to create the tight wrap .

8. Most patients who have antireflux surgery feel better within 48 hours, although symptoms may take slightly longer to improve .   

9. Your doctor will give you strict instructions for your recovery, including no smoking for at least two weeks and only taking small amounts of solid food for the first week or so after surgery.

10. Patients need to take it easy during their recovery period, especially in the first month or so, because they should not lift heavy objects nor engage in strenuous activity .  

11. Most patients are able to return to work within a few weeks - if they have a desk job they may be able to return sooner than other people .  

12. Most insurers will cover the cost of antireflux surgery provided that it is performed by a NHS surgeon who is part of the National Health Service

13. Patients should discuss the cost of surgery with their surgeons because there may be additional fees for anaesthesia or other medications which are required for surgery but are not covered by the NHS.

14.Most patients are healthy enough to go through antireflux surgery, although they must make sure that they do not have any other conditions that would preclude them from undergoing fundoplication

15.Patients must undergo a detailed psychological assessment beforehand to ensure that they will be able to cope with the changes in their lifestyle, including changes in their diet, after the surgery .

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