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Jan 9, 2011

Heartburn Or Hyperacidity

Esophagus is a tube like structure which passes food from mouth to stomach. At lower end of esophagus a valve like structure called Lower Esophageal sphincter (LES) act as one way valve which let pass food from esophagus to stomach but stop its regurgitation.
Secretion of acid in stomach is normal process to digest the food. Inner most lining of stomach wall is acid resistant, so stomach itself does not get any harm from acid secreted in stomach but esophagus has not such kind of protective lining. In normal conditions acid mixed food does not regurgitate up in esophagus. But when food and acid refluxes back into esophagus it produces symptoms from mild discomfort to severe burning. This is known as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux( GER).
Acid Reflux is a very common symptom but if it is felt more than twice a week in long term it can produce Gastro- Esophageal Reflux Disease ( GERD).
Symptoms of Gastro- Esophageal Reflux Disease ( GERD) :-
1. Frequent Heartburn- although it is a burning sensation in mid chest or lower part of esophagus but it has no relation with heart.Burning mostly increases with eating and may last for hours after eating. Burning may increase with stooping, lying down.
2. Acid Belching- Eructation of acid or acrid water in mouth with eructation.
3. Symptomless- Less incidentally GERD may occur without usual symptoms of burning or heartburn. Instead in children there may be Dry cough, Asthma like symptoms or difficult swallowing indicating to GERD.
Factors or Causes Responsible for GERD:-
In many cases exact cause remains unclear but some important factors are underlined.
A. Acid reflux caused by Hiatus Hernia, a structural abnormality in which stomach and LES ( Lower Esophageal Stricture) junction moves above the diaphragm.
B. Pregnancy- Many women feel heartburn first time in pregnancy, it occurs due to increasing level of hormones and growing size of fetus which increases intra-abdominal pressure which reflux acid into esophagus. Most women feel worst symptoms in third trimester and after delivery symptoms go away completely.
C. Smoking- Smoking increases heartburn episodes by increasing acid secretions, reducing salivation in mouth which neutralize acid effects in esophagus, reducing lower esophageal sphincter muscle’s function which increases acid reflux into esophagus.
D. Obesity- Obesity increases intra abdominal pressure which increase acid leakage into esophagus.
E. Foods and Food Habits– Eating large meals and eating just before bedtime can increase heartburn.Some foods increases events of heartburn as :- Alcohol, Carbonated beverages , chocolate, tomato and tomato products like sauce, citrus food , coffee and tea, spicy food, garlic and onions. All these foods can trigger heartburn.
F. Mental stress related to shift working, emotional and economical issues may increase Heartburn symptoms.
Diagnosis :-
Frequent heartburn, sour and acrid eructation is sufficient to diagnose this condition. But sometimes to know extent of disease further examination is needed-
A. Barium Swallow.
B. Endoscopy.
C. pH Monitoring.
D. Biopsy in cases of suspicion of cancer.
Management and Treatment :-
Lifestyle and dietary changes can improve episodes of Heartburns and prevent Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease.
A. Avoid food and beverages which trigger heartburn as alcohol, soda, carbonated drinks, chocolates, tomato based foods, garlic etc.
B. Quit Smoking.
C. Food Habits- Eat small meals at a time.Finish your food 2-3 hours before going to bed.
D. Weight Reduction and manage obesity- Weight reduction and managing obesity can improve recurrent episodes of heartburn.
E. Improve your sleep- Quit night watching and improving sleep quality can reduce heartburns.
F. Raise 6 inches of your head side of bed- Raising head side 6 inches improve the flow of acid in stomach away from esophagus which reduce the heartburns.
G. Stop wearing tight clothes.
If using these tips is not sufficient to stop episodes of heartburn then further treatment is necessary because frequent acid spilling in esophagus can produce ulcers, bleeding and can develop cancer of esophagus.
Allopathic Treatment-
Antacids are used to reduce heartburns and acrid eructation. Foaming agents, H2 blockers, Proton pump inhibitors and Prokinetics are most common type of drugs used for antacid effects.
Long term effect of antacids can result in side effects as diarrhea, altered calcium metabolism and extra build up of magnesium in body. Too much magnesium can effect patient of kidney disease.
So continuous use of antacids without consultation may endanger health.
Homeopathic Treatment-
Homeopathy has very effective medication for acute and chronic cases of Hyperacidity and heartburn. Regular use of homeopathy on one hand can prevent from GERD and on another hand homeopathic medicines prevents from side effects as in case of regular use of allopathic antacid drugs.
Homeopathy has 274 medicines for Heartburn, Acrid Eructation and burning esophagus. Long term use of these medicines never impose any side effect on health. Some very common medicines are-
Lycopodium, Nux Vomica, Acid Sulf, Robinia, Sang. Can., Arsenic Alb, Nitric Acid, Phosphorus etc.
When to Consult a Physician:-
1. If heartburn occurs more then two times a week.
2. If You wake up in night due to heartburn.
3. If routine medicines which you are using is not working now.
4. If heartburn associated with difficulty in swallowing.
5. If there is hoarseness, difficulty in respiration after eating or lying down after eating.
6. If there is unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
7. If heartburn is started to disturb your routine life.

1 comment:

Rose Maria said...
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