6 Symptoms Of Acid Reflux You Should Not Ignore
It's estimated that 60 to 70 million people in the U.S. are affected by a digestive disease. While that includes everything from chronic constipation to the inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis, And whether it's due to a physiological reason or the fact that women are diagnosed with GI conditions-including acid reflux - research shows that acid reflux is the most commonly diagnosed of all. And whether it's due to a physiological reason or the fact that women are more diligent about visiting the doctor, women are diagnosed with GI conditions—including acid reflux—more often than men / 46.
The proper name for acid reflux is gastroesophageal reflux (GER). GER happens when your stomach's contents move back up toward your esophagus, causing an array of uncomfortable symptoms. It's extremely common for anyone to experience this on occasion, according to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD affects 20 percent of the U.S. population. It's caused by a malfunction in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is supposed to close after allowing food to pass through to the stomach, but when it doesn't, stomach acid can flow back up where it's not supposed to be. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus, including precancerous changes, or lead to respiratory problems like pneumonia, laryngitis, and asthma, so it's important to get treated.
Though some people are most at risk-pregnant women , smokers, and those who are overweight or obese-acid reflux and GERD can happen to anyone. Here are the most common signs to look out for.
This is the most common symptom of acid reflux. "Somewhere between 5 to 10 precent of the population suffers daily heartburn," Felice Schnoll-Sussman, MD, gastroenterologist and director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells SELF. Heartburn is marked by a burning sensation in the chest, right behind your breastbone, that happens after eating. It can last a few minutes or several hours. Chest pain, especially after bending over or lying down, and burning in the throat are also signs you're experiencing heartburn. If chest pain is ever paired with shortness of breath or jaw or arm pain, seek medical attention, as you could be experiencing. symptoms of a heart attack.
About 80 percent of people with GERD also experience regurgitation, when undigested food and stomach acid move back up from the stomach to the esophagus. You know, that feeling, when you are kind of burp and get a little taste of your last meal (but, like, mixed with puke). Eating large meals, exercising, or bending over after eating can trigger regurgitation. But it can also happen suddenly.
3. Sour taste in the mouth
"A fair number of people with acid reflux experience a sour taste in their mouth," Schnoll-Sussman says. It may also seem bitter, and can cause bad breath. This usually happens along with regurgitation.
4. Difficulty swallowing
This is called dysphagia. Dysphagia makes it take longer to get food down, and can feel like food is sticking in the esophagus. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is caused by GERD-induced damage to esophageal tissues, which can cause the lower esophagus to spasm, scar, and become more narrow.
5. Chronic cough
The reason many people with GERD develop a chronic cough is unclear, but there are two theories in the medical community. One is that cough happens as a protective measure when tiny amounts of acid reaches—and is slightly breathed into—the larynx, which acts as an air passage to the lungs. The other theory is that the cough is simply a reflex reaction to what's happening in the upper part of your digestive tract.
6. Hoarseness or sore throat
When stomach acid moves up the esophagus, it can irritate the vocal cords. This is often worse in the morning. This constant irritation can also make the throat feel a bit sore.