Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle located between the esophagus and stomach, fails to close completely. This muscle normally opens and closes to allow food and liquids to pass into the stomach after swallowing.
In our stomachs, we naturally have acid that aids in the digestion of the food we consume. However, if the LES doesn’t fully close, it permits some of the stomach acid to flow backward and upward into the esophagus. This can result in damage and potentially lead to long-term acid reflux. The refluxed acid often causes a burning sensation commonly known as “heartburn.”
At The Gut Clinic UK, our team of gastroenterologists specialises in the treatment of acid reflux. They are experienced in relieving symptoms such as heartburn and providing effective solutions for this condition.
Acid reflux or heartburn can be caused by a variety of factors, as it doesn’t have a single specific cause. Several components can contribute to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to flow back up the digestive tract. Factors such as food choices, medications, pre-existing conditions, and post-meal activities can all play a role in triggering acid reflux. The impact of these factors can vary from person to person. Here are some common causes of acid reflux:
– Excess weight or obesity
– Hiatal hernia
– Weak or compromised LES
– Consumption of caffeine
– Alcohol intake, particularly red wine
– Carbonated beverages
– Spicy or fatty foods
– Low-fibre diet
– Eating a heavy meal and then lying down
– Consumption of chocolate, citrus fruits, peppermint, tomatoes, black pepper, garlic, and raw onions
– Certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, and blood pressure medications
Common symptoms of acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn, include:
– Chest pain
– Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
– Abdominal bloating
– Unexplained weight loss
– Sensation of a lump in the throat
– Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
If you are experiencing these symptoms on a persistent basis, you may be suffering from a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). We recommend reaching out to your gastroenterologist at The Gut Clinic UK to seek professional assistance and guidance.
To find effective relief from acid reflux, it is recommended to seek guidance from a gastroenterologist at The Gut Clinic UK. Alongside professional assistance, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate the severity and frequency of symptoms. Here are some helpful tips:
– Avoid consuming foods and beverages that trigger your acid reflux symptoms.
– Limit your intake of caffeine.
– Practice mindful eating by chewing slowly and eating in moderation.
– Maintain an upright position, either standing or sitting, for some time after eating.
– Refrain from eating at least two hours before going to bed.
– Sleep on an incline with your head raised above your feet.
– Quit smoking to reduce acid reflux symptoms.
– If you are overweight, consider losing weight to alleviate the condition.
– Inform your gastroenterologist about any medications you are currently taking for proper evaluation and guidance.
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