The number one cause of acid reflux is the consumption of acidic foods and beverages. In addition, you should also avoid food right before going to bed, since the body naturally has a slower digestive process while you sleep. However, there can be times when your body may not digest certain food as fast as it normally would. If this happens, acid reflux can occur, especially if you eat when lying down. Look for effective acid reflux treatment if you are troubled by the irritating symptoms.
Some people may wonder if hot water is good for heartburn or acid reflux. The short answer would be no. Hot water, in general, should not be used to treat either of these conditions because it does not do enough to help ease the pain in your heart or chest. Hot water only provides the feeling of instant relief, but it does not solve the problem (that is, indigestion).
Hot water can make acid reflux worse. If you experience heartburn or acid reflux while drinking hot beverages like coffee or tea, try to reduce the amount of caffeine in your drinks to avoid further indigestion problems. Drinking hot water does not cool the contents in your stomach that are causing you discomfort. However, it will temporarily relieve what is bothering you until it does not matter because the liquid in question has already moved to the intestinal tract.
If there is excess acid in one’s system, adding more liquid in the form of hot water can exacerbate issues. The liquid will not be able to absorb into your system fast enough and this can lead to further reflux.
Can cold water help?
Drinking cold water instead of hot can help in acid reflux treatment. It reduces heartburn and indigestion problems. This is because the cold water helps solidify fats in the stomach, ejecting them more easily through the intestinal tract. Solid fats, such as those found in pizza and other high-fat foods, are not always easy to digest, which is why these kinds of food tend to be a major cause of various stomach problems.
Drinking hot water with meals with high-fat content will only make digestion more difficult because the liquid will not be able to mix properly with the food.
Drinking cold water after eating fatty foods can help the stomach get rid of these foods so that they do not stay in your system long enough to cause you problems. Therefore, instead of reaching for hot liquid when dealing with heartburn or acid reflux, pick up a glass of ice water and wait to see if that is a better option for relieving your discomfort.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid and sometimes bile flows back into the food pipe. This can cause heartburn, which is a burning feeling in your chest. The main symptom of acid reflux is having pain or discomfort centered on your upper tummy (abdomen), often after eating. It is very common, and some people get it more often than others do. Acid reflux is also called Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). You should consult with your doctor for effective acid reflux treatment if have the disease.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
The main symptom is having pain or discomfort in your chest. This pain or discomfort may spread upwards to your throat and neck, and you may feel it in your mouth, nose, jaw, or ear. Moreover, you may also cough or find it hard to swallow.
The pain is usually worse when the acid in your stomach comes up into your food pipe (esophagus). Once the acid is in your food pipe, it can irritate its lining, which causes heartburn. Sometimes you can taste the acid in your mouth, so it may feel like you have heartburn without any cause.
The pain is often more severe when lying down or bending over because this makes it harder for your food pipe to keep out the acid. The pain also tends to be worse first thing in the morning and after eating a heavy meal.
Some people get acid reflux without any pain or discomfort. They may notice regurgitation (the food coming back up) and heartburn, although this is less common than acid reflux with pain (where the acid comes up into their throat).
The condition can also make your voice sound different, either more hoarse or breathy, when you breathe in. You are more likely to get acid reflux if you are pregnant, overweight or smoke, and older than 40 years of age. Consult with your doctor for effective acid reflux treatment to relieve the symptoms.
Is acid reflux serious?
In most cases, the side effects are not critical. However, if the acid keeps coming up into your food pipe, it can damage the lining of your food pipe, which may cause pain and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
Some people get severe stomachache that lasts for hours or days after an attack of acid reflux. This is more likely to happen if you have attacks of severe reflux (where the acid comes up into your throat). It is sometimes called silent reflux.
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux usually happens when the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of your food pipe (esophagus) relaxes when it should not. The muscle is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, this muscle closes tightly to stop acid and bile from your stomach from flowing back up into your food pipe. However, if it opens when it should not or does not close as tightly as normal, acid and sometimes bile flow back up into your food pipe.
When the LES relaxes, it is called a ‘spontaneous’ acid reflux. It may happen when you are lying down or bending over, for example, when you are sleeping, reading in bed, or watching TV.
What causes the stomach valve to relax?
If your stomach empties more slowly than usual (for example, if you have severe vomiting), this can cause your LES to relax. It may happen for a short time after you have stopped vomiting if your stomach hasn’t emptied properly. There is well-working acid reflux treatment, no matter what the cause of your condition is. You and your doctor can sit and find out the most suitable remedy for your problem.
If your sphincter does not close as tightly as it should, this is called ‘inhibited’ acid reflux (also called gastro-esophageal reflux disease). It may be the result of a condition that causes inflammation in your food pipe (esophagus), such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when acid and sometimes bile frequently flow back up into your food pipe.
What causes GERD?
Doctors do not know why some people get this severe condition. However, they think it happens because the lining of their food pipe is damaged. It means that when your stomach empties, bile and acid can flow back up into your food pipe. The damage to the lining of your food pipe can be caused by-
- An infection in your food pipe (esophagus), for example, by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. It is the most common cause of GERD in adults and often goes with stomach ulcers
- Eating certain foods which irritate your food pipe (esophagus)
- Smoking or drinking too much alcohol
GERD can sometimes run in families. However, this does not mean that it is genetic. If the disease runs in your family, you might be more likely to develop it for other reasons, especially if you smoke or drink a lot of alcohol.
Your GP may want to do some tests before prescribing you acid reflux treatment. Your GP will ask about your symptoms and may suggest some investigations, such as-
It is a test where a thin, flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) is passed down your food pipe and into your stomach.
- 24-hour pH or impedance studies
This test sees how well the sphincter opens and closes.
- Blood tests
How can you stop getting acid reflux?
Various ways can help relieve the irritating symptoms, such as-
- Not eating a big meal before going to bed
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Avoiding eating fatty foods
- Sitting up straight while eating and not lying down or bending over
- Avoiding bending down or doing exercises after eating
- Eating smaller amounts more often instead of big meals
- Not eating within 2–3 hours before bedtime
- Taking your time when eating and not gulping down your food without chewing
- Avoiding drinks that can relax the sphincter, such as alcohol, chocolate, caffeine
- Quitting smoking to support your acid reflux treatment
- Raising the head of your bed by about 6 inches (15 cm) when you’re lying down
- If sleeping propped up doesn’t help, try sleeping on several pillows to keep your head and shoulders raised
- Stopping drinking too much alcohol and reducing your caffeine intake
- Avoiding eating spicy and fatty foods and chocolate
- Trying to control heartburn by having small, regular meals instead of big ones
How do you stop getting acid reflux at night?
Many people find that stopping eating or drinking before lying down reduces their acid reflux at night. Some people also find that taking a non-drowsy antihistamine helps. Taking a low dose of an H2 antagonist such as ranitidine 150mg twice daily keeps the stomach slightly more acidic, and it can help reduce acid reflux. If this isn’t enough to control your symptoms, you could ask your GP about taking a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole or lansoprazole for severe or stubborn symptoms. These medications stop stomach acid from being produced and can be very effective at controlling the symptoms of GERD.
What are effective medications for acid reflux treatment?
There are several effective medications for heartburn. However, it largely depends on the underlying cause. For instance-
- If you have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), histamine receptor blockers, such as famotidine and omeprazole can help
- If your GERD is caused by Helicobacter pylori infection, a combination of amoxicillin and clarithromycin should do the trick
- If your GERD is caused by a condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which typically presents with upper gastrointestinal ulcers, a drug such as Pantoprazole or Rabeprazole will be required
In some cases, these medications may be combined with antacids to achieve maximum effect. Antacids can also be used in combination with H2 receptor antagonists such as cimetidine. It works by blocking histamine receptors on parietal cells, which decreases the secretion of gastric acid.
Do these medications address all the stomach problems?
Other stomach conditions require specific medications. For instance, if you have a condition called gastroparesis, which causes delayed stomach emptying, your doctor will most likely suggest using domperidone or erythromycin. However, if you have a condition known as esophageal spasm, medication such as nifedipine and nitrates should do the trick.
As with most medical conditions, you should talk to your doctor before self-medicating for GERD or any other stomach condition. He or she may be able to guide you on the appropriate medication that is best suited for your situation.
What foods are good for acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a medical condition or disease, which occurs when acidic content from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. Following are some of the foods that can support your acid reflux treatment-
- Whole grains
- Yogurt with live cultures
- Green tea
- Coffee (decaf)
- Grapes (red)
- Mint tea
- Chicken soup
- Fibrous vegetables
- Whole grains
These are some of the best foods for acid reflux. However, you can talk with your doctor for more effective remedies. Also, ask him or her about the best foods and drinks you can have in your meal regularly.
When you have this condition, it is very significant to have a balanced diet. Eating these foods can help you maintain your balance. Remember, if the symptoms of acid reflux persist, it is best to consult a doctor. He or she can recommend effective acid reflux treatment. Although home remedies can help, it is better to look for long-lasting treatment.