Common or Uncommon – signs of Reflux?

Acid reflux or GERD is an increasingly common problem so one would think diagnosis would be simple and treatment would be an easy thing. More often then not the signs and symptoms of Acid reflux are common to other issues and are mistaken or overlooked.  If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to Barrett’s esophagus and then esophageal cancer, which is one of the fastest increasing cancers today. For the latest information on Esophageal cancer go to www.ECAN.org.

Some of the signs or symptoms of acid reflux are as follows:

Heartburn and/or Chest pain

The pain that often comes from the stomach acids refluxing into the esophagus is the most common complaint of acid reflux sufferers. Over time this refluxing acid causes damage to the lining of the esophagus.  The chest pain associated with reflux is often mistaken for a heart attach.  If you experience this type of chest pain it is important to consult with your doctor to understand the differences between chest pain from reflux or a true heart attack.  Never ignore chest pain as the results could be dire.

Pain after you eat

If you’ve just eaten a meal and experience pain if often means the stomach is full and contents have no where to go except back up.  Often to prevent this, eat smaller meals, no fatty foods, avoid eating late at night and avoid alcohol and tobacco around mealtime.  Eating 2-3 hours prior to sleep will also benefit you.  If you must head to bed after a large meal, you absolutely want to sleep head elevated (on a gradual incline) so that gravity will help keep the contents of your stomach in your stomach.

Pain worsens during sleep

Acid is kept in the stomach with a proper functioning lower esophageal sphincter and gravity.  When you lay down flat to sleep you lose the benefit of gravity to help keep the acid where it belongs.  This is why people often experience more pain during rest. Again, sleeping head elevated is the best option to help prevent the acid from slipping into the esophagus.  Gravity1st is an excellent, portable option to allow you head elevated sleep anywhere you travel.

Bad taste in your mouth

When the acid from your stomach escapes back up to the back of your throat it often leaves a nasty bitter taste in your mouth.  In bad or persistent cases this refluxing acid can cause you to CHOKE, COUGH, cause HOARSENESS and/or a SORE THROAT. If acid is coming back up from your stomach it can easily irritate your vocal cords and throat causing these symptoms.

It’s easy to see how choking, coughing, hoarseness and a sore throat can be misdiagnosed.  People often ignore these symptoms since they think they are simply coming down with a common cold.  They often mask these symptoms with over the counter medications and look no further into the real cause of the problems. If these symptoms are persistent or occur or worsen after a meal – ask your doctor if he or she suspects Acid Reflux.

Difficulty swallowing

Recurrent damage to the esophagus causes swelling in the tissues and results in the narrowing of the organ.  This narrowing makes it difficult to swallow over time.

Production of extra saliva

Saliva production often occurs to try to “wash” out or dilute an irritant in the mouth.  If stomach acid is refluxing and reaching the mouth you may all of a sudden experience excess saliva production.  If this occurs on a regular basis you should speak with your physician.

Nausea

There are many people who only exhibit nausea with their reflux so it is difficult to attribute it to reflux. Nausea can be caused by so many things that reflux is often the last thing you would think to cause it. If the nausea usually comes right after a meal you should be more suspect of reflux.

Asthma

It is unclear if frequent heartburn actually causes asthma but often the coughing from heartburn triggers or makes asthma worse. Many people who have reflux have asthma and vice versa – researchers are not sure why this overlap occurs.  There are several theories but more research is required. Sometimes individuals are diagnosed and treated for asthma who actually acid reflux and not asthma.

A great meal in great company is often ruined by a painful bout of heartburn. Home remedies for acid reflux such as sleeping head elevated with Gravity1st, should be your first line treatment to prevent further damage of nighttime reflux. It is always important to consult your physician to make sure your symptoms are what you think they are and to receive a comprehensive treatment plan.