Stomachache? Know the symptoms and causes of acid reflux. Find tips to control and relieve discomfort caused by acid reflux.

Stomachache? Learn the symptoms and causes of acid reflux. Tips to control and relieve the discomfort of acid reflux.

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (EGE), is a condition characterized by acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus. This physiological phenomenon causes a series of symptoms, such as stomach burning, regurgitation and the unpleasant stomach pain. Although occasional acid reflux is frequent and mostly harmless, chronic or severe reflux can cause complications and reduce the quality of life of affected people.

With regard to acid reflux, the stomach plays a crucial role in the development and persistence of symptoms. The stomach is covered by a layer of mucosa that protects it from its own gastric acid; However, certain factors can alter this protective barrier. One of these factors is the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (EEI), a muscular ring that normally prevents the content of the stomach from going back to the esophagus. When the EEI is weakened or relaxes inappropriately, gastric acid can enter the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.

Important: acid reflux can be triggered by various factors, including certain foods such as spicy or fatty foods, alcohol and caffeine. Obesity, pregnancy, smoking and certain medications can also contribute to the development of acid reflux.

It is essential to treat acid reflux promptly, since it can lead to complications if it is not. Chronic acid exposure can damage the lining of the esophagus, causing ulcers, stenosis and even precancerous changes. The stomach pain is usually described as a burning sensation that is irradia from the abdomen to the chest. This pain can be intermittent or persistent, and can get worse after meals or to bed.

Understanding Acid Reflux: Causes and Symptoms

Causes of acid reflux:

  1. Hiatus hernia: One of the main causes of acid reflux is a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of the stomach stands out through the diaphragm towards the thoracic cavity. This can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (EEI) and allow stomach acid to flow back.
  2. Weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter: the EEI is a muscular ring located at the base of the esophagus. When it does not close properly, it allows stomach acid to reflies to the esophagus.
  3. Dietary triggers: certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux symptoms. Among them are fatty foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Obesity: excess weight can exert pressure on the abdomen and make the stomach content rise to the esophagus.

Acid reflux symptoms:

  • Stomach burning: A burning sensation in the chest or throat is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. It usually occurs after eating or bedtime.
  • Regurgitation: The feeling that food or acidic fluid returns to the mouth or throat is another typical symptom. You can leave a sour or bitter taste.
  • Dysphagia: The difficulty swallowing or the feeling that food gets stuck in the chest can indicate acid reflux.
  • Chronic cough: dry and persistent cough can be an acid reflux symptom, especially when worse at night or after eating.

Note: It is important to consult a medical professional to obtain a precise diagnosis and proper treatment of acid reflux. Chronic acid reflux can cause complications such as esophagitis, esophageal and esophagus of Barrett, which can increase the risk of developing esophagus cancer.

By understanding the causes and recognizing the symptoms of acid reflux, people can take proactive measures to control the condition and seek adequate medical guidance.

The Role of Stomach Acid in Acid Reflux

Stomach acidity, also known as gastric acid, plays a crucial role in digestion. It consists mainly of hydrochloric acid and enzymes that break down food and facilitate the absorption of nutrients. The highly acidic environment created by gastric acid is essential for the correct decomposition of proteins, enzyme activation and the destruction of harmful bacteria and pathogens that may be present in the food we consume. However, when the lower esophageal sphincter (EEI), a muscular ring that separates the stomach esophagus, weakens or relaxes, stomach acid can return to the esophagus, causing the appearance of acid reflux.

Important information:

  • Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid returns to the esophagus.
  • The lower esophageal sphincter (EEI) plays a crucial role in the prevention of acid reflux, closing the esophagus to the stomach.
  • Stomach acid is necessary for adequate digestion and the decomposition of proteins, but its presence in the esophagus can cause irritation and discomfort.

Common Causes of Acid Reflux: Trigger Foods and Lifestyle Factors

1. Unleashed foods:

Foods rich in fats and spices usually trigger symptoms of acid reflux. Among them are fried and fatty foods, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chocolate, mint and caffeine. In addition, it is known that carbonated drinks, alcohol and acidic drinks such as citrus juices and coffee make the symptoms of acid reflux worse.

  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Spicy dishes
  • Citrus
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion and garlic
  • Chocolate and mint
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Acid drinks (for example, citrus juices, coffee)

2. Lifestyle related factors:

Various lifestyle factors can contribute to the development and exacerbation of acid reflux. Among them are included:

  1. Obesity: Excess weight exerts pressure on the abdomen, which increases the risk of acid reflux.
  2. Bad eating habits: eating great portions, consuming meals near bedtime and bedtime after eating can contribute to the symptoms of acid reflux.
  3. Smoking: smoking tobacco weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to return to the esophagus more easily.
  4. Stress: high levels of stress and anxiety can stimulate excessive stomach acid production and increase the probability of acid reflux.
  5. Medications: Certain medications, such as no n-steroidal ant i-inflammatories (NSAIDs), calcium channel blockers and sedatives, can relax the esophagus muscles and cause acid reflux.

“It is important that people who suffer acid reflux identify their triggers and modify their life habits to control and relieve their symptoms.”

Avoiding unleashed foods and adopting healthier life habits, people can effectively reduce the appearance and severity of acid reflux episodes. Maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding excessive consumption of fatty and spicy foods, making smaller and frequent meals, and refraining from lying immediately after meals can greatly improve acid reflux symptoms. It is also recommended to quit smoking and control stress levels through relaxation or psychological advice techniques. If the symptoms persist or get worse, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a more thorough evaluation and treatment options.

The Connection between Acid Reflux and Stomach Pain

One of the main reasons for stomach pain in acid reflux is the damage caused by the continuous exposure of the esophagus to acid gastric content. The lining of the esophagus is not designed to support the corrosive effects of stomach acid, which causes irritation, inflammation and pain. These discomforts may vary in intensity and located at the top of the abdomen or extended throughout the stomach area.

  • Excessive stomach acid production: Excessive production of stomach acid is a common trigger for acid reflux symptoms. When the stomach produces too much acid, it can cause an imbalance in the digestive system, causing irritation and pain.
  • Weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (EEI): The EEI is a muscle located at the lower end of the esophagus that acts as a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. When this muscle weakens or relaxes inappropriately, stomach acid can return to the esophagus, causing acid reflux and associated stomach pain.
  • Dietary factors: certain foods and drinks can exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux and contribute to stomach pain. It is known that spicy, fatty and acidic foods, as well as caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks, trigger or worsen symptoms in susceptible people.

It is important to keep in mind that stomach pain can have various causes, and consult a healthcare professional to obtain a precise diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan is crucial to effectively control the symptoms of acid reflux.

The Impact of Acid Reflux on Digestive Health

One of the main effects of acid reflux on digestive health is the inflammation of the esophageal coating. Frequent exposure to stomach acid can irritate and damage the delicate tissues of the esophagus, causing erosive esophagitis. This condition can cause pain, difficulty swallowing and even bleeding. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as esophageal or esophagus stenosis of Barrett, a precaceral condition.

  • Erosive esophagitis: inflammation of the esophageal coating due to exposure to stomach acid.
  • Esophageal stenosis: narrowing of the esophagus caused by the formation of scar tissue.
  • Barrett esophagus: disease in which normal cells that cover the esophagus are replaced by abnormal cells, which increases the risk of esophagus cancer.

“Chronic acid reflux can have lon g-term consequences on digestive health, being able to cause complications such as erosive esophagitis, esophageal and esophagus of Barrett.”

In addition to the direct impact on the esophagus, acid reflux can also affect the digestive system in general. The excessive presence of stomach acid in the esophagus can alter the balance of the beneficial bacteria of the intestine and cause digestive problems. This imbalance can cause symptoms such as swelling, gases and alterations of intestinal transit. In addition, constant irritation and inflammation caused by acid reflux can reduce the effectiveness of nutrient absorption, which can cause shor t-term vitamins and minerals.

Understanding the consequences of acid reflux in digestive health is crucial for effective management and prevention of complications. A time diagnosis and proper treatment can help relieve symptoms, reduce inflammation and promote general digestive wel l-being.

Managing Acid Reflux: Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

To reduce the appearance and severity of acid reflux, it is important to adopt some modifications in lifestyle. In the first place, it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight, since excess weight can exert pressure on the stomach and make the acid return to the esophagus. Regular exercise, combined with a balanced diet rich in fiber and low fat, can help control weight. In addition, it is recommended to make smaller meals throughout the day instead of consuming large portions at once. This allows the stomach to digest food more easily and reduces the possibility of acid reflux.

Relieved lifestyle changes for acid reflux:
  • Get and keep a healthy weight
  • Incorporate regular exercise to your routine
  • Follow a balanced diet rich in fiber and low fat
  • Consume smaller meals throughout the day

Note: Lifestyle changes are essential to control acid reflux. In addition to controlling the weight, exercising regularly and following a balanced diet can greatly reduce the appearance of symptoms.

In addition to changes in lifestyle, there are several home remedies that people with acid reflux can try to relieve their symptoms. In the first place, it is important to identify the food and trimmed drinks that worsen the symptoms of acid reflux, such as spicy foods, citrus, drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Avoiding these triggers can help prevent acid reflux episodes. Raising the head of the bed during sleep using a wedg e-shaped pillow or placing blocks under the bed legs can also help reduce night reflux. This position allows gravity to maintain stomach acid in the stomach instead of reflining to the esophagus.

  1. Avoid trigger foods and drinks that make acid reflux worse
  2. Elevate the head of the bed during sleep to prevent nocturnal reflux.

Note: Trying home remedies such as avoiding trigger foods and elevating the head of the bed can be effective in controlling acid reflux, especially during sleep.

When to Seek Medical Help for Acid Reflux and Stomach Pain

1. Persistent and severe symptoms: If you experience persistent and severe symptoms of acid reflux, such as severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, or persistent nausea and vomiting, it is important to seek medical help. These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition, such as a peptic ulcer or gastroesophageal cancer. A healthcare professional will be able to evaluate your symptoms, perform diagnostic tests and provide you with the appropriate treatment.

“If you experience persistent, severe symptoms of acid reflux, such as severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, or persistent nausea and vomiting, it is important to seek medical help.”

2. Frequent use of over-the-counter medications: If you regularly resort to over-the-counter medications, such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), to manage acid reflux symptoms, it is recommended to consult a doctor. Although these medications may provide temporary relief, their frequent and long-term use can mask underlying problems and have potential side effects. A healthcare professional can evaluate your condition, determine the root cause of your acid reflux, and develop a personalized treatment plan.

3. Impact on daily life: If acid reflux and stomach pain begin to significantly affect your daily activities, it is advisable to seek medical help. Chronic acid reflux can lead to complications such as esophageal stricture or Barrett’s esophagus, which require medical intervention. Additionally, if pain disrupts your sleep patterns, causes weight loss, or interferes with your ability to eat and drink, it is important to see a healthcare professional for a complete evaluation.

  • It is necessary to seek medical help for acid reflux and stomach pain when the symptoms are persistent and severe.
  • If over-the-counter medications are regularly used, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
  • When acid reflux begins to significantly affect daily life, it is essential to seek medical assistance.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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