Tag Archive | "acid reflux"

Troubled Tummy: What Your Stomach Aches Are Telling You

There isn’t just one type of tummy ache – there’s the mild groaning you get when you’ve missed lunch, and then there’s the excruciatingly sharp stabs that wake you up in the middle of the night, and there are those other kinds you just can’t put a finger on. Stomach pains are generally not enough to warrant a run for the emergency room, but the kind of pain you encounter will be able to tell you if you should definitely see a doctor right away. Decoding your stomach signals should also set your expectations on the treatment your doctor is most likely to recommend. Here are common tummy conditions and how to distinguish one from the other: 

1.    If you have appendicitis…

The appendix is a fingerlike pouch attached to the large intestine, and may become prone to infection or inflammation, a condition known as appendicitis. The pain is initially dull and starts around the belly button, radiating to the right side of the lower abdomen. As the appendix becomes more inflamed, it will cause more pain in this area, sometimes too much that you won’t be able to walk. When you experience right lower quadrant pain, rush to the ER right away. You will want to prevent the appendix from rupturing. When it does, it will contaminate your other gastrointestinal organs and make the condition even more complication. When a diagnosis of appendicitis is confirmed, the best thing to do is have it surgically removed.

 2.    If you acid reflux

You are most likely to feel a burning sensation between at the center of your chest, just below your breastbone. It is sudden and worsens when you eat and lie down after doing so. The pain is actually brought about by acids from your stomach shooting back up your throat. Normally, the stomach sphincter closes tightly after food bolus has entered the stomach. In this case, the sphincter is relaxed, so acids flow upwards. Over-the-counter antacids are the best relief, but if they become too frequent, a doctor may prescribe an acid-reducing medication.

 3.    If you have stomach ulcers…

This means the lining of your stomach may have corroded and has become sore. The pain is sharp and burning. It is worse when you are hungry, and is relieved by eating food. Nonsteroidal medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin worsen the ulcers, so they should be avoided for whatever pain. The doctor may prescribe medications that will coat the ulcer, kill bacteria that causes the ulcer, or may recommend surgery, depending on the size and depth of the sore.

 4.    If you have gallstones…

The gallbladder is located between the liver and small intestine. Gallstones can be as little as peas, or as large as golf balls. They are formed when cholesterol and bile hardens due to improper gallbladder emptying, or a high-cholesterol diet. If you have stones, you would feel a sharp and sudden pain on your upper abdomen, around the middle part. The pain would creep to the right, somewhere below your rib cage, and can become worse after you have eaten. You may also develop a fever or may vomit due to the pain, so it is best to see a doctor who will be able to confirm a diagnosis of gallstones through an ultrasound or a CT scan. Surgery is the best way to clear the stones, however if they are too large, the gallbladder may have to be removed.

 5.    If you have irritable bowel syndrome…

IBS is characterized by bouts of nausea and vomiting, abdominal bloating, alternating diarrhea and constipation, and lower abdomen cramps. It is brought about by a nerve malfunction in the intestines. The discomforts generally lessen when you are able to move bowels. IBS is usually treated with an anti-spasmodic drug to help your intestines regulate movement, and to relieve cramping.


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Foods that Cause Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a common condition that can affect anyone of us. The condition happens when the acid contents of the stomach rise all the way up to the esophagus causing the person affected to have symptoms like heartburn, dry cough, and feeling of soreness in the throat. Although acid reflux is not a serious medical condition but is can lead to a graver one when left unmanaged, and not to mention the symptoms that it gives can be very uncomfortable making the one with the condition to be less productive whether in school or at work.

One of the best ways to prevent acid reflux from happening is by choosing the foods that you eat. There are some foods that can trigger the condition and leads a person to experience the symptoms. It is very important for a person who has acid reflux to know what foods that can lead to develop acid reflux so that he can avoid it.

The following are the foods that can cause acid reflux:

  • Coffee

This beverage is what every person with acid reflux should avoid. Coffee has acid content that can surely trigger acid reflux symptoms especially when taken several times a day.

  • Fried Chicken, French Fries, and Other Fried Foods

Fried foods are one of the enemies of those suffering with acid reflux. These types of foods are complicated to digest because of its fat contents leading to the secretion of more acid in the stomach. This in turn leads to the appearance of acid reflux symptoms.

  • Spicy Foods

Spicy foods seem to be everyone’s favorite food especially during a cold weather. The spicy flavor adds more appeal to certain foods making them more exciting to eat. But these types of foods are big no-no for those who are suffering with acid reflux. The spiciness of the foods triggers for acid reflux attacks.

  • Alcoholic Beverages

Different types of alcohol increases the secretion of acid contents in the stomach especially when ingested in large quantities. The acid reflux symptoms add to the discomforts felt by a person who had much alcohol.

  • Pork, Beef, Chicken, Turkey

Meats take longer to digest as compared to other foods which make it very difficult for the stomach to digest. Digesting meat takes more time which leads to the production of more gastric acids in the stomach then leading to acid reflux.

  • Milk

Milk and other dairy products leads to increase acid contents emitted by the stomach, it is recommended to drink it with an empty stomach so as to limit acid production.

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GERD Fast Facts and Management

GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a digestive disease that causes stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus which causes inflammation of the esophageal lining. It is a chronic condition also known as the acid reflux. The regurgitated liquid contains acid and pepsin that is essential in digestion of food in the stomach. As this liquid backs up the esophagus it destroys its delicate lining which can cause damage.

Signs and Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest and can be mistaken as a heart attack. The patient will manifest dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, sore throat, regurgitation of stomach contents and a feeling of a lump in the throat.

An esophageal sphincter acts as a control valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This is called the Lower esophageal sphincter which contracts and closes as food passes down to the stomach. This sphincter makes sure that the stomach contents which are mainly acidic in nature will not regurgitate to the esophagus. A weak esophageal sphincter can be a cause for GERD. A condition that contributes to gastroesophageal reflux includes obesity, pregnancy, smoking and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Hiatal hernias also play a major contributing factor in the development of GERD. In a patient with hiatal hernia there is a small part of the stomach that protrudes through the diaphragm resulting in the LES lying side by side with the protrusion of the stomach in the chest. Without the muscular support of the diaphragm that pushes the food down to the stomach preventing reflux, the stomach contents now stays on that small part that lies on the chest. The contents will now irritate the LES and will cause it to weaken thus increasing gastric reflux.

Treating GERD or gastroesophageal reflux is a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications.

Medications that can help in the treatment of GERD are:

  • Antacids to neutralize the acid content of the stomach. It will only provide quick relief but it won’t heal the inflammation caused by the acid in the esophagus nor would it prevent future occurrences.
  • H-2 Receptor Blockers are administered to reduce acid production. They don’t produce quick relief but they can deliver longer relief once the medication has been absorbed.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors blocks acid protection and heals damaged esophageal tissue. Examples of Proton Pump Inhibitors are lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec).

Lifestyle changes and modifications are necessary to prevent recurrence of treated GERD. Follow these useful tips to help prevent GERD.

  • Maintains an ideal weight as obesity can put you at high risk for the development of GERD
  • Wear loose fitting clothing to avoid compressing the abdomen that can put pressure to the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Avoid fatty and fried foods which can trigger heartburn. Common foods that trigger heartburn are alcohol, garlic, caffeine, and onion.
  • Avoid smoking because it weakens the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Elevate the head of your bed and avoid lying down immediately after eating to promote food to go down by means of gravity. This will avoid regurgitation of the stomach contents back to the esophagus.

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Curing Heartburn the Quick And Easy Way

Heartburn is a problem which effects over sixty million Americans, causing severe pain in the chest and stomach. It goes by other names, the most popular of which is acid reflux Read the full story

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