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Heartburn and gastric reflux: a caustic duo

by Sonia Chartier, on 19 April 2017, Digestion
gastric reflux

You’re always running around like a headless chicken, so to make up for lost time, you eat on the go. In all the frenzy, you round off your meal with an acid reflux that burns the back of your throat.

Your stomach is expressing its discontent, much to your dismay…

Gastric reflux, aka gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is when the acidic contents of your stomach flow back up the esophagus. Whether occasional or constant, this reflux causes heartburn and acid indigestion after meals.

The causes of gastric reflux

Gastric reflux is a normal phenomenon, but we call it GERD when it refers to a medical condition. This reflux is caused by a malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter, a valve that normally keeps stomach acid from flowing back up into the esophagus. The failure of this anti-reflux mechanism can be caused by alcohol consumption, nicotine, caffeine and spicy foods. Obesity and overweight can also cause abdominal hyperpressure, which causes the lower esophageal sphincter to perform poorly.

The symptoms of gastric reflux

The two main symptoms of gastric reflux are heartburn and acid indigestion. These typically occur after meals, particularly when you are bending forward or lying down. ENT symptoms are also common: hoarseness in the morning, sore throat, chest pain… And the following symptoms are cause for concern: pain when swallowing, a feeling that food isn’t going down, or bleeding. These symptoms can point to complications.

Complications

The ineffectiveness of the anti-reflux mechanism can cause esophageal injuries, as acid reflux irritates the lining of the esophagus repeatedly over time. While these injuries are benign for the most part, they can lead to complications, such as inflammation of the esophagus, also known as esophagitis. If the lining of the esophagus is perforated, there’s a risk you’ll develop ulcers. In more severe cases, gastric juices can cause digestive tract bleeding, which in turn can lead to esophageal cancer.

Foods as a natural remedy against gastric reflux

Treatment with typical medications, which are potentially harmful and costly, is not the only way to cure the symptoms of gastric reflux. Certain natural remedies containing milk thistle, boldo and artichoke can relieve gastric reflux. Some foods can also reduce the symptoms of acid indigestion and heartburn. Here are a few things you can add to your diet:

  • Raw almonds
  • Carrot juice
  • Bananas
  • German chamomile tea can also help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
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