Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, the pipe that connects your mouth to the stomach. A valve at the stomach entrance, the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), closes immediately after food passes through it. If this valve doesn’t close properly, acid produced by the stomach moves up into your oesophagus, causing irritation.
What causes acid reflux?
One of the most common causes of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality known as hiatal hernia. It occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter and upper part of your stomach move above the diaphragm. To confirm the diagnosis, you need to visit a bariatric surgeon. Other than that, acid reflux can also be triggered by:
• Eating large meals
• Lying down immediately after eating
• Eating spicy foods, citrus fruits, fatty foods, chocolate, garlic, tomatoes, and onions
• Being obese or overweight
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
Acid reflux often manifests itself as a burning pain that moves from your stomach to your chest up to your throat.
If your mouth always tastes bitter, you could be suffering from acid reflux. Regurgitation happens when gastric juices or even undigested food rise up into your throat and mouth.
Other signs of acid reflux include:
• Bloody vomiting and bloody stool
When should you worry about your acid reflux?
It is normal to experience acid reflux from time to time, but if you get it once a week or more, you should definitely see a doctor. When your heartburn becomes more frequent and severe, it means that your acid reflux might be progressing to GERD disease. GERD is a more severe form of acid reflux, and its symptoms include:
• Pain or difficulty in swallowing solid foods or pills
• Drastic weight loss accompanied by heartburn
• Increased difficulty in breathing or chronic wheezing
• Stomach pain
• Chronic coughing or a choking sensation
• If you have used antacid medication for two weeks or longer and haven’t had relief
How to control acid reflux
Before resorting to medication, try making a few lifestyle changes to help control your acid reflux.
• Avoid carbonated drinks
• Avoid spicy and fatty foods, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, tea, onions, and citrus fruits.
• Eat smaller portions of food and chew carefully before swallowing
• Lose some bit of weight
• Stay up after eating
• Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
If symptoms persist, reach out us to discuss other medical treatment options. Dr. Wale Olarinde is one of the best bariatric surgeons in the country, and he is based in South Yorkshire, Sheffield, North Derbyshire, and Chesterfield.