5 Myths About Acid Reflux and GERD

5 Myths About Acid Reflux and GERD

Acid reflux disease occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle that forms a valve between your esophagus and your stomach, malfunctions, allowing acid to flow back up into your esophagus. This can result in heartburn, and can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD is a serious form of acid reflux disease that can cause You may be surprised to learn that acid reflux can can cause more severe symptoms like regurgitation of food, trouble swallowing, wheezing, coughing, bloody vomiting, black or bloody stools, bloating, weight loss, persistent hiccups, nausea and sore throat..

Occasional acid reflux resulting in heartburn is normal, and can usually be treated with antacids. If you have acid reflux twice a week or more, or if over-the-counter antacids don’t help your heartburn and other symptoms, prescription medications like Nexium may help. Your doctor will want to examine you for other possible causes of your symptoms, like ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, infections or other abnormalities before prescribing medication for the treatment of acid reflux.

If you think you’re suffering from acid reflux or GERD, however, it’s important that you have accurate information about how the condition is managed. There’s a lot of misinformation about acid reflux, heartburn and GERD floating around out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most common untrue things people believe about acid reflux.

Heartburn Isn’t a Serious Symptom

As you may have already gathered, heartburn isn’t always harmless. It’s true that occasional heartburn probably isn’t something to worry about, but regular, frequent and severe heartburn can cause permanent damage to your esophagus. Heartburn could be a symptom of another medical illness, like gastritis, an ulcer or a hiatal hernia — a hernia that happens when your LES and part of the top of your stomach slip through the diaphragm.

Even if it isn’t a symptom of another condition, acid reflux can be damaging all by itself. Fifteen percent of people who suffer acid reflux sustain permanent esophageal damage. Some of those people will develop Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition.

Acid Reflux Occurs Due to a Poor Diet

While it’s true that some foods may aggravate your acid reflux symptoms, diet isn’t really the culprit here. Instead, it’s a malfunctioning LES that’s to blame. When the LES doesn’t fully close, or releases at the wrong time, stomach acid and bile are allowed to flow back into the esophagus, causing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Lauren Gerson, conducted a comprehensive review of over 2,000 relevant studies published between 1974 and 2004. She and her colleagues found that sufferers did not experience any overall improvement in their symptoms by removing such foods as chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods —the foods said to be responsible for causing heartburn — from their diets.

Instead, in a subsequent review of 100 more studies regarding the effect of lifestyle changes on acid reflux and GERD symptoms, Dr. Gerson and her colleagues found that losing weight and sleeping with their upper bodies slightly elevated were far more effective ways for acid reflux sufferers to gain relief. Losing just 10 pounds can help ease heartburn symptoms. Place blocks under the top of your mattress to elevate the head of your bed four to six inches.

Acid Reflux from Poor Diet

You Have to Take Acid Reflux Medication Every Day for Life

Many people who are diagnosed with acid reflux medication continue to take it daily for years, out of the fear that their symptoms will return if they don’t.

However, only people with the most severe acid reflux symptoms really need to do this. The rest of you are free to take your medication when symptoms flare up or when you’re about to eat something that may trigger symptoms. Get a good price on your acid reflux medications at Canada Drug Pharmacy.

Milk Will Soothe Acid Reflux

This age-old advice for a troubled stomach simply isn’t true — the milk may neutralize your stomach acid temporarily, but your stomach will soon produce more. Mint can also do more harm than good. Try licorice instead.

You Can Just Take Extra Antacids to Treat Your Acid Reflux

Many acid reflux sufferers, reluctant to see a doctor about their heartburn, just pop tons of antacids in an effort to cope with the problem. But if you’re going through more than a couple of antacids at a time or taking them more often than twice a week, you have a problem that requires medical attention. Not only that, but taking too many antacids can cause complications of its own, like diarrhea or constipation.

You may be surprised to learn that acid reflux can be a serious medical condition. Make sure you have the facts about acid reflux and GERD. Only when you have the correct information will you be in the right position to successfully combat this common condition.