Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux is a condition where gastric juices containing acid is pushed back by the stomach into the esophagus. Acid reflux commonly occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not work properly, and allows the acid to seep upwards from the stomach to the esophagus.
Acid Reflux Symptoms:
Heartburn: The first symptom of Acid Reflux is the burning sensation in the chest area often called heartburn. The acid is secreted in the stomach for the digestion of food. When this is transferred to esophagus it causes agitation. The linings of the esophagus get affected as they are smooth and fragile, unprepared for the acid. This leads to damage in the lining and the result is severe burning sensation in the esophagus. This burning sensation usually starts behind the breastbone (the sternum), and may travel up to the throat. It usually occurs shortly after eating, and can last from a few minutes to several hours.
Difficulty in Swallowing or Dysphagia: Trouble with swallowing occurs when food does not pass normally from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. There may be a sensation of food sticking in the throat or a feeling of choking.
Dyspepsia: Up to half of the patients with acid reflux have dyspepsia. The patient experiences pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen with fullness in the stomach and nausea after eating.
Sour or Bitter Taste in the Mouth: The patient often complains of bitter taste in the mouth. When the reflux contents of the stomach reaches the back of the throat the mouth experiences sourness and bitterness.
Chronic Coughing and Wheezing: When the acid refluxed into the esophagus is aspirated into the airways and lungs, it can cause wheezing and coughing. It makes breathing difficult and cause asthmatic conditions.
Hoarseness, dental erosion and bad breath are some of the additional symptoms. These are experienced because the acidic juices make their way into the throat, mouth and air passages of the lungs.
Regurgitation: It is expulsion of undigested food or blood from the mouth. It can be done voluntary or may be a symptoms of a disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Excessive Salivation: The saliva of our mouth is basic by nature. It is our body’s natural response to treat acid reflux by neutralizing it.
Chest Pain: It is one among the less known symptoms of GERD which cannot be ignored. It is in the best interests of our health to consult a doctor and verify whether the complaint of chest pain is because of this disease or not.
Acid Reflux Symptoms in Infants and Children:
It is difficult to diagnose GERD in babies and children as is no single symptom which is universally common among them. Some above mentioned symptoms in adults can also be found in infants suffering from this disease. Some of the symptoms of pediatric reflux or GERD in children are:
- Inconsolable crying because of pain and irritability
- Sudden screaming while asleep
- Pain in the neck and back while the baby eats because of poor habits of sleep.
- Excessive vomiting
- Frequent hiccups
- Frequent infections in the ear
- Difficulty to burp
- Refusing to eat
- Bad breath
- Frequent bowel movements along with loose stool
- Coughing at night especially
- Asthma, pneumonia or bronchitis
Complications Associated with Acid Reflux Symptoms or GERD:
Esophageal Stricture: It is the technical name given to narrowing of the esophagus. It is the tube like structure through which food reaches stomach from the mouth. Constant exposure to acid causes swelling of this tube. This leads to gradual shrinking of this structure, making swallowing of food difficult.
Esophagitis: It is a swelling caused at the junction of stomach and esophagus.
Barrett’s Esophagus: Here cells of the esophagus, especially in its lower end close to stoamch, get damaged because of constant exposure to acids in the stomach.
Esophageal Cancer: It is a rare form of cancer and has two types. Either it effects the cells in the upper part of the esophagus or target the junction where this organ meets with stomach.
Home Remedies to Treat GERD or Acid Reflux Symptoms:
- Root of ginger can be chewed along with a tea spoon of honey after meals.
- Vanilla ice cream is found by many to provide relief from this disease.
- Cumin and cinnamon can be powdered. They can be added in the plin water. Drinking this water instead of plain water with meals is beneficial.
- Tincture made from fennel can be taken to treat this condition naturally.
- The burning sensation caused by acids can by reduced by drinking chilled skim milk in small amounts every hour.
- Some people find it useful to drink apple cider vinger mixed with a tea spoon of honey to get relief from acid reflux.