If you’ve ever had acid reflux you know the pain and discomfort a once enjoyable activity like eating dinner can cause. Medically termed Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, reflux is a condition in which acid in your stomach flows backwards up your throat causing a burning sensation beneath your breastbone.
Symptoms & Causes
GERD occurs when the valve that opens and closes to let food pass from your throat to your stomach doesn’t completely close. The causes of this problem can range from poor diet, eating habits, medications and lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn after eating, food regurgitation, hoarseness and coughing. Make sure to contact your doctor if you are in severe pain or the reflux has persisted more than a few meals.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your doctor will ask you a few questions to gauge the severity of your reflux and then may recommend lifestyle changes or an antacid. If the pain has persisted for longer than a month you may be referred to a specialist known as a gastroenterologist. If the over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes don’t resolve your symptoms a stronger antacid or surgery might be the last solution option to take.
To stop reflux before it starts try to avoid some of the key contributing factors that cause the problem. This means eating smaller meals, avoid late-night snacks, alcohol, smoking and spicy foods. Also try not to wear tight clothing or put pressure on your stomach.