What is Gastric Reflux?
Gastric reflux is a common digestive condition that is also often referred to as heartburn. A burning sensation and pain in the stomach and chest is usually felt when gastric reflux occurs. This condition is extremely uncomfortable and can affect your quality of life. It occurs when there is a back flow of the stomach’s acidic contents into the esophagus (the tube which connects the stomach to the throat).
At the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter acts as a valve and prevents the stomach acids from flowing upwards. However, in some people this valve may be weak or faulty and as a result the stomach acids flow into the esophagus. If there is increased pressure on the stomach or the stomach contains too much food or gastric juices, gastric reflux will occur.
The symptoms and signs of acid reflux may include
or be accompanied by:
- Indigestion (dyspepsia)
- Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness and coughing
- Dental erosion
What Causes Gastric Reflux?
Gastric reflux is typically brought on by a number of factors such as eating a large or fatty, spicy meal, acidic foods and beverages, drinking alcohol, smoking, lying down too soon after eating, bending or lifting. Obesity, pregnancy, constipation and a hiatal hernia may also be associated with gastric reflux. If gastric reflux is left untreated, complications such as inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), anemia, ulceration and cancer of the esophagus can cause serious health risks.
Diagnosing Gastric Reflux
The diagnosis of gastric reflux is based on the symptoms presented, a thorough physical examination and review of your medical history. Certain diagnostic tests such as barium x-rays, endoscopy, biopsy, esophageal PH testing and esophageal manometry may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Help for Gastric Reflux
How to treat the symptoms of gastric reflux depends on its severity. For mild symptoms of stomach reflux, over-the-counter medications such as ant-acids, H-2 receptor blockers or anti-gas medications may offer fast relief. If symptoms are severe and keep recurring, proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed by your doctor. Surgery may be required if medications do not work.
More and more people are choosing natural and holistic treatments to treat and assist the prevention the symptoms of digestive problems, including those which results in throat pain. Homeopathic remedies are safe and gentle within the body without the unwanted side effects of conventional medications. Carefully selected ingredients such as Calc phos, Carbo veg, Nat phos, Mag carb and Silicea help to absorb toxins in the body, neutralizes acid in the stomach, acts as an internal cleanser and calms the digestive system.
More Information on Gastric Reflux
There are several ways to relieve gastric reflux and these include:
- Eliminate certain foods and beverages such as fatty, spicy foods, milk, coffee, tomatoes, oranges, peppermint, chocolate and alcohol that may trigger stomach reflux symptoms
- Keep a diary to track which foods and activities may worsen your symptoms
- If you are overweight, lose some weight to relieve symptoms
- Eat slowly and always sit up straight when eating
- Avoid going to bed on a full stomach – eat a meal at 2-3 hours before lying down
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day and avoid overeating
- Elevate the head of your bed by placing blocks or a bedwedges under the bedposts to alleviate gastric reflux
- Wear loose fitting clothes to release pressure on your stomach
- Stop smoking as it weakens the lower esophageal sphincter
- Reduce stress levels by exercising, practicing deep breathing exercises or meditating