Acid reflux is a chronic condition that affects approximately five percent of the population. Many people do not even know they have the condition because its symptoms mimic those of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the most common digestive disorder.
The cause of acid reflux is often unclear, but the condition often results from eating a lot of spicy foods and alcohol. Eating too many fatty foods can also contribute to acid reflux, as can stress, heredity, and obesity.
The painful symptoms of acid reflux are well known and include pain and discomfort in the chest, upper back, throat, and stomach. These symptoms can occur suddenly or persist for days or weeks.
If you or someone you love suffers from the symptoms of acid reflux, you may want to consider a variety of treatment options. Depending on your particular symptoms, you may need to change your diet and undergo lifestyle changes.
Changes in your diet may include avoiding foods high in fat or acid, eating smaller meals more often, and reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates. Changing your lifestyle may include decreasing the amount of salt you add to your food, and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables.
Other acid reflux treatments may include taking prescription medication, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPI), or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If you have GERD, these medications are often recommended, especially if the symptoms persist for several months.
A common non-pharmacological acid reflux treatment is acupressure, which involves applying pressure to specific areas of the body in order to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux. Other treatments include acupuncture, exercise, and a change in diet.
Although not all forms of acid reflux are life-threatening, serious complications can result from improper treatment of the condition. If you have a history of GERD, you may be at a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer, and consuming foods that promote GERD may increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
It is important to understand that not everyone who experiences acid reflux will develop the condition. In fact, a few sufferers manage to avoid the disease entirely by eating foods that prevent the production of acid in the stomach.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of acid reflux, it is important to see your doctor and begin the process of acid reflux treatment. It is important to be aware that lifestyle changes alone cannot cure acid reflux, but they can help to reduce the symptoms.
If you want to learn more about the possible causes of acid reflux, and about treatment options, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your health care.