Acid Reflux Heartburn
Acid reflux, more commonly known as heartburn, shares many symptoms with other illnesses or afflictions, but if one knows which in particular to look for, heartburn can easily be diagnosed. Naturally, the quicker the condition is diagnosed, the quicker the treatment can begin!
Acid reflux is not an illness, but instead an amalgamation of various symptoms of other problems within the body. GERD (gastroesophegal reflux disease) is the most common cause of heartburn, but it is treatable with medication, dietary changes or other medical processes. Fortunately, various home remedies are available to help against heartburn or GERD.
Symptoms of Heartburn
Acid reflux tends to leave a nasty taste in the back of the mouth, typically a bitter or acidic taste. This is due to the reflux containing some digestive acid from the stomach. If swallowing is difficult or even painful, this is because part of the esophagus has become sensitive due to the acid reflux. A feeling of burning in the throat is also a strong indication of acid reflux. This feeling can get worse after swallowing, but tends to calm down after a couple of minutes. The burning feeling is due to the digestive juices from the acid reflux irritating or eating away at the walls of the esophagus.
A tightness or burning sensation in the chest while eating or after eating can be an indication of acid reflux. Depending on the person's digestive system and the amount of food intake, the sensation can already appear during eating, or may even take up to 30 minutes after eating to appear. The feeling can be anything from a warmth to a painful burning sensation and may continue for up to a couple of hours.
A constant cough, combined with the other symptoms above, can indicate GERD. This cough is brought on by some acid reflux entering the lungs. Similarly, those with asthma will be afflicted by GERD more easily, and shallow breathing is a sign of heartburn.
Course of Action
Minor cases of heartburn, typically those without too much discomfort or pain, can usually be quelled by medication from a pharmacist. If the condition worsens, or is at a point where the pain interferes with one's normal activities, a doctor should be consulted for advice on how to combat the condition.
Certain foods, such as caffeine-rich or carbonated drinks, potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate or spicy foods can cause heartburn. Removing these foods from one's diet can prevent heartburn completely, if they are indeed the cause. Loose clothing can help alleviate the symptoms of heartburn, and avoiding drinking alcohol can help as well. Drink plenty of water to soothe the esophagus and stomach.