Everyone has heard of acid reflux at one time or another, whether he or she or someone he or she knows has experienced it personally. But, what is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach or stomach juices rise back up through the lower esophageal sphincter. This causes an irritation that feels like a burning sensation. Since the heart is in close proximity, acid reflux is commonly called heartburn.
Some people have been known to go to the emergency room when the acid reflux causes intense pain. Often, they feel as if they are having a heart attack. They become surprised to hear that what they have is a condition known as acid reflux. The common question then becomes “what is acid reflux?” When the doctor explains that it is simply heartburn, most people feel much better about the diagnosis.
What is Acid Reflux and What Can be Done About it?
Once someone has come to terms with acid reflux and fully understand what acid reflux is, they are ready to fight back against flare-ups. They will first need to discover the foods that trigger their personal experience with heartburn. The most common offenders are fried foods, fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, and tomato based foods. Keeping a notebook handy to track occurrences of acid reflux will help lessen the flare-ups.
There are other reasons for acid reflux to occur. It is important to not lie down after eating a meal. It is suggested to not lie down within two to three hours of eating. It is also a good idea to not eat too much. Both of these cause pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, weakening it, and allowing for stomach contents to rise back up. This is exactly what acid reflux is and easy ways to avoid it.
When acid reflux becomes a common occurrence and causes extreme pain, then a trip to the doctor is necessary. The doctor will describe in detail what acid reflux is and likely show a chart that explains what happens when the lower esophageal sphincter is weakened. At this point, the doctor will often prescribe a medication to be taken daily in order to stave off heartburn before it occurs. For those people who do not want to visit the doctor or have only few occasions of acid reflux can purchase over the counter medications. Some of these medications can be taken daily. Others should be taken right before a meal, and others are taken at the onset of acid reflux.
Armed with knowledge, anyone can combat this horrible condition through medication or simple changes in diet.