Acid reflux, more commonly known as heartburn, is the leading gut complaint seen by medical professionals. Around 25% of UK adults suffer from acid reflux symptoms regularly.
How do you know when you are suffering from acid reflux? What are the most common acid reflux symptoms to look out for? All will be revealed in this helpful guide.
What is Acid Reflux?
Your lower oesophagus sphincter is the muscle that joins your oesophagus (food pipe) and your stomach. The role of this muscle is to tighten the pipe once food passes into the stomach, but if yours is weak, acid may result in travelling back up the oesophagus. When stomach acid travels up your oesophagus, it can cause an unpleasant sensation in your upper chest/neck/throat.
This is known as acid reflux.
Don’t be alarmed when we say that you have acid inside you - the acid in your stomach helps to break down the food you eat, as well as preventing infections. It’s meant to stay in the stomach, which is why problems occur when it gets unintentionally released.
Common Acid Reflux Symptoms
The most common symptom of acid reflux is a painful sensation in your upper chest, known as heartburn. This pain can often be described as a sharp, burning or tightening feeling in the neck, throat or chest (behind the breastbone).
Acid travelling up into your oesophagus can also lead to an unpleasant taste in the back of your throat or mouth. This bitter/sour or metallic taste in your mouth is caused by your stomach acid escaping into your throat and isn't easy to shake, often lasting just as long as other symptoms and can persist even after eating, drinking or brushing your teeth.
Acid reflux can cause you to feel as though you have food stuck in your throat. Dysphagia refers to having difficulty swallowing and can cause coughing and sometimes choking. The leaking of your stomach acid into your oesophagus can cause this sensation and lead you to feel nauseous, as well as give you a hoarse voice.
Your diaphragm muscle can spasm, causing your vocal cords to snap shut and produce a little reoccurring sound; this is known as the hiccup. Acid reflux can lead to recurrent hiccups that just won't go away.
Hiccups are little cause for concern as they can be brought on by eating too quickly, drinking too much or taking in too much air, and often subside on their own. But, in the case of acid reflux, hiccups could be an indication of a more serious diagnosis, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Severe Acid Reflux Symptoms
GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a severe form of acid reflux. The pain from this disease cannot be remedied as easily as regular heartburn and long-term damages can cause serious health issues, such as cancer.
GERD has the same symptoms as acid reflux, but due to its severity, it also has some of its own that can be a cause for concern...
Due to the excessive exposure of acid which occurs during GERD, your tooth enamel may get damaged.
The enamel on your teeth is there to protect them from decay. Continuous acid reflux can cause the outer layer of your enamel to degrade, meaning it’s important to take precautions such as brushing your teeth after experiencing an episode.
One possible symptom of GERD is that the escaping stomach acid will damage your throat lining and lung airways. In a worst-case scenario, GERD sufferers may end up with airways narrower than the average person, resulting in asthma.
Asthma refers to a difficulty breathing which can cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
How To Treat Acid Reflux
It's all well and good knowing what to expect if you were to experience acid reflux, but how do you treat it? Acid reflux treatment can vary from home remedies to specialised medication.
If you aren't a frequent sufferer of acid reflux, home remedies may be effective.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be added to tea or recipes to help ease pain caused by heartburn.
Having oatmeal for breakfast, or adding a good source of fibre to your diet, can reduce your exposure to suffering from acid reflux. Other strong fibre sources include whole-grain products, such as rice or bread.
Those that regularly suffer from acid reflux symptoms may require a more concrete solution. There are different acid reflux medications available to those who need more serious help.
Omeprazole is a reliable medication which treats more serious symptoms associated with GERD by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. Express Pharmacy offers Omeprazole 20mg to help you manage your suffering; the medication is simply administered by swallowing the tablet before eating.
Lansoprazole is another effective medical treatment to treat GERD and other stomach acid-related conditions. Our Lansoprazole 15mg tablets are to be swallowed with a glass of water at the same time each day. For best results, it is recommended to take Lansoprazole first thing in the morning.
For more information regarding the symptoms of acid reflux, get in touch with our pharmaceutical experts on 0208 123 0703. We will be able to help you make an informed decision on what treatment is most suitable.