If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic heartburn, otherwise known as Acid Reflux Disease, then you know what it feels like to suffer with (what seems like) every bite of food that you consume. The fact is if you are suffering from heartburn then you may need to formulate a special diet which can help in alleviating some of the symptoms that make having acid reflux so unbearable.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods you should stay away from altogether in order to make heartburn as close to a non-issue as possible. Foods that are recommended against would include things like hot wings, orange and grape fruit juices and many dairy products along with a litany of other acidic foods that should be avoided. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to limit your acid, grease and fat intake in order to avoid a flare up of acid reflux. There are also some fruits that you may want to avoid, however, not all of your favorite foods are off limits if you are going to be on a heartburn diet.
Foods to Eat in Moderation
There are some foods which may cause you to suffer from symptoms of heartburn; however, some of those foods are not completely off limits. Items like orange juice are acidic, however not nearly as acidic as something with lime or lemon in it and may be easier on your stomach than other citrus products. You may also want to monitor the kinds of dairy products that you consume as lactose can play a serious role in inducing acid reflux flair up. Eating certain types of fruits in moderation is also very important. Berries in general are a good thing to try and stay away from as well as peaches and grapes.
Foods Safe to Eat on Heartburn Diet
As you begin to research what kind of foods you can and cannot eat while you are on a heartburn diet you may start to think that such a diet is very restrictive and not at all palatable for the average person. However, it is important to remember that most of your favorite products that you buy from the grocery store come in fat free and low fat versions. This is important because as stated earlier, it is mostly overly fatty, greasy or acidic foods that cause heartburn to occur. In other words, instead of buying regular sour cream, try the low fat. It tastes just as good and won’t cause your throat and chest to feel as though they are on fire.
Keeping the Pain to a Minimum
Having heartburn can be a very unpleasant and even painful ordeal if you do not go about treating the condition the right way. Most people think that having chronic heartburn pain is a curse that they are never going to be able to get rid of, however if you know what you are putting into your body and are conscious of the effects that each item is having on you, then your chances of reducing an acid reflux flare up can be greatly reduced.
As a general rule of thumb, a heartburn diet is basically a generalized low fat, low spice diet that can be easily integrated into any lifestyle and can be just as tasty as a regular full fat diet. It is up to you to decide if you want to change your diet since no one else is going to do it for you. You are the one suffering so it is up to you to do something about it. Try a basic heartburn diet along with any medications your doctor recommends and you will feel so much better for it.
There is a valve that is located right at the entrance of your stomach; this valve is known as the LES or lower esophageal sphincter. Under normal circumstances this valve opens, allowing food to enter. However, in some cases the LES will either fail to close back up or it may open a bit too slowly. If this occurs, stomach acid is allowed to enter up into the esophageal area, causing what is known as heartburn. This can happen to anyone at any time. But if it happens too frequently it may be acid reflux disease.
Why Does Acid Reflux Disease Occur?
There are a few different causes of acid reflux disease. One of the most common causes is a Hiatal hernia. This is actually a defect that causes the upper area of the stomach and the LES to move up above the diaphragm, causing it to basically protrude. When this happens, stomach acid will get into the esophagus and diaphragm. Another cause could be overall poor health, excessive alcohol consumption. Improper digestion based on a poor diet or frequently eating spicy, irritating foods. Sometimes being out of shape or obese can contribute to this disease. Even eating too close to the time you are getting ready to lie down for the night can bring on acid reflux disease.
How to Differentiate Between Acid Reflux Disease and Regular Heartburn
As mentioned earlier, anyone can get heartburn after eating a meal that does not particularly agree with them, for whatever reason. However, when this becomes a chronic problem and starts to happen more than once or twice a week, there is definitely cause for concern. The best way to tell the difference between regular heartburn and acid reflux diseases is to pay attention to how often it is happening, the time of day and whether or not over the counter remedies bring long terms relief. With acid reflux disease the only thing that is going to help is a long acting medication. Your run of the mill antacids will not help but for a little while.
Burning Sensation in Upper Stomach and Chest Pains
One of the most common complaints among people suffering from acid reflux is, of course, heartburn. This is a feeling as though there is something very hot travelling up your esophagus and into your throat. This can be quite painful and often comes on just after a belch. In some cases people with this condition become so frightened at the level of chest pain that they think they are suffering from a heart attack. Unfortunately, it also works the other way around and some people who are truly having heart attacks think they have heartburn.
Chronic Cough- Especially in the Morning
Some people who suffer from acid reflux disease notice that they cough a lot in the morning. They often do not understand why they are coughing so much. They only know that for some reason morning tends to bring on a terrible bout of coughing that feels almost as if there is a frog in their throat. This happens because the acid has burned the upper part of the esophagus and is actually causing what is very similar to an itch in the throat. This is another very common symptom of acid reflux disease.
Acid reflux disease, once diagnosed properly is a very easily treated condition. There are many home remedies such as apple cider vinegar and baking soda that people use to treat the excess acid. However, typically there is a long acting antacid such as Prevacid or Zantac prescribed. This is usually taken online once a day and will ward off undesirable symptoms for the entire day. In some rare cases a surgical procedure to repair the Hiatal hernia, if that is the cause, may be required.
Most normal infants have a certain amount of acid reflux and this is quite common. However, there are some situations in which the reflux can lead to more serious medical conditions such as GERD. While many people may not realize it, GERD in infants is a frequent occurrence and there are many telltale signs. It is important to know and understand all of the symptoms of GERD in infants and to educate yourself on proper identification of GERD in infants.
One of the most common symptoms of GERD in infants is frequent vomiting or spitting up. Of course this is not the same as the “normal” spitting up that generally occurs between the first and third month of the infant’s life. The trouble is for some infants this problem becomes severe and requires treatment. In these cases you may be looking at GERD as the culprit.
Infants who have GERD also tend to be quite irritable when it comes time to eat. This irritability will be noted by crying, restlessness, fussiness, whining or even downright screaming. It is not hard to distinguish an irritable baby. If your baby is more irritable when it comes to feeding then you may want to consult your doctor to see what the reason is. It is very possible that eating is painful for your infant as a result of reflux.
If you infant does not seem to have much of an appetite or gets full to easily then this also could be cause for concern. GERD in infants tends to show itself in the form of a poor or under developed appetite. Of course, if it hurt you to eat, you would probably lose your appetite as well so such is understandable. While some infants may take less formula at some meals than others, if the problem becomes consistent, seek medical advice.
Another symptom of GERD in infants is clear and visible pain during feeding. If an infant is experiencing some sort of stomach discomfort, the most visible sign will be back arching and drawing up his/her legs. A comfortable baby will feel relaxed in your arms during feedings. A baby who is experiencing pain will struggle and you will be able to feel the tension in the infant.
A frequent cough or hoarse voice could also be indicative of GERD in infants. This is because the acid will eventually begin affecting the larynx of the child. In addition, hiccups which happen quite frequently and last for long periods of time may also be a sign of GERD in infants. This does not mean a tiny cough or a couple of spells of hiccups means your infant has GERD but ongoing issues should be checked out.
Many infants with GERD also spit up during burps frequently. These types of burps are generally referred to as “wet burps.” Again, a few wet burps probably isn’t cause for alarm but if it happens a lot then it would probably be safe to say a doctor’s visit would be in order.
Finally, a problem with sleeping comfortable or awakening frequently with what appears to be abdominal discomfort could be a sign of acid reflux or GERD in infants. This is because the acid is much more apt to rise into the throat and esophagus while the child is in a lying position. If your baby seems to experience painful bouts of wakefulness throughout the night then ask your pediatrician to check for other symptoms of GERD.
All children have a tendency to get an upset stomach from time to time. However, when it becomes a chronic problem and your child appears to be in pain, you may want to consider the possibility that your child is suffering from what is called acid reflux disease. This is a very painful condition in which stomach acid rises up into the esophagus and throat. The only thing worse than suffering from acid reflux yourself, is watching your child go through it.
This condition can cause major frustration as there can be a number of other ailments which appear to be acid reflux. Sometimes food allergies or sensitivities can cause children to have symptoms which mimic acid reflux. For example, something your child eats regularly may be causing acid indigestion. If that food were to be eliminated then the symptoms would just stop. Of course if you do not know what the food is, this in itself will pose a problem.
The only way to know for sure if your child is suffering from acid reflux is to have the child’s condition diagnosed by a physician. However, there are some acid reflux symptoms in kids you might watch for. If your child seems to experience a lot of discomfort after eating and he/she complains of a burning sensation, this could be a sign of acid reflux. Keep in mind that a few episodes of normal heartburn do not point to acid reflux. This will be something that happens more often than not in a child who is suffering from reflux.
You may also notice your child does not seem to thrive in terms of gaining weight appropriately. This can be related to many medical conditions but when considering acid reflux in children this is indeed one of the symptoms. If this is coupled with chronic vomiting then there is even more reason to be concerned.
If you have notice that your child seems to have a persistent cough that occurs more frequently upon waking, this could also be a result of the acid rising into the throat and esophagus. Acid reflux in children will cause irritation that could easily lead to a chronic cough. Burping to excess is also a sign of acid reflux and if you notice this address it with you physician. This is especially true if regurgitation accompanies the burping.
Wheezing, obvious discomfort while eating and frequent gagging are also telltale signs that you child may be suffering from acid reflux in children. No matter whom you are, acid reflux is a painful and uncomfortable condition, and that is putting it mildly. For a child this debilitating condition can really have an effect on the quality of his/her life. The good news is that there are many known acid reflux for kids treatments. Talk to your doctor to see what the best option for treatment will be if you have a child who is diagnosed with acid reflux disease.
There is never any reason in today’s world that a child should suffer with acid reflux. We have too many resources at our fingertips and a variety of ways in which this condition can be treated and the symptoms managed. Do not wait to take your child to a doctor if you suspect acid reflux disease as prolonging treatment can lead to other more serious complications such as GERD. If treatment is not started early there is even a chance that stomach ulcers and other underlying conditions can emerge as a result of the untreated regurgitation of the stomach acid.
Since the beginning of time, babies have been ‘spitting up’ and parents thought nothing of it. They simply thought baby ate too much, or ate too fast or simply had a case of ‘colic’ but there was no huge widespread concern that something was wrong with their child. In today’s world where so much is known about medical science, it would seem as though parents would not be as concerned as they are when baby starts spitting up. Most often acid reflux in babies causes more concern for the parent than there should be. Nothing sinister is going on if baby regurgitates after eating, especially when formula fed.
Understanding Acid Reflux in Babies Symptoms and Common Causes
Pediatricians will tell you that reflux is normal in babies. Consider the fact that your baby’s stomach is no larger than a golf ball so that when they drink too much milk there is nowhere for it to go quickly enough but up! Another common cause of acid reflux in babies is that the lower esophageal valve may not have yet properly tightened up to keep stomach contents down where they should be. If your baby is content after eating and spitting up without any signs of distress, then you can safely assume that one of above caused the reflux. However, if your baby appears to be in pain or at least a certain amount of discomfort, then it is time to talk to baby’s doctor about acid reflux in babies remedies.
Acid Reflux in Babies – GERD
If spitting up is causing baby pain, the pediatrician may indeed make a diagnosis of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) which he or she will prescribe treatment for. The unfortunate thing about this is that many parents automatically assume their baby has GERD and will exaggerate the symptoms when explaining them to the child’s doctor. Be aware of this when monitoring your baby because it is always better not to treat baby with medications if at all possible. New parents are especially prone to exaggerating symptoms in babies, but luckily, doctors are well aware of this. If baby is screaming in obvious discomfort after eating and spitting up, breathing irregularly or is not growing well, it may really be GERD.
Acid Reflux in Babies Tips for Parents
Especially for newborns, it is better to feed baby much smaller amounts more frequently to avoid over-filling that tiny stomach. Try to keep baby in as upright a position for at least 1/4 to 1/2 hour after eating because this lets gravity help bring the milk/formula down from the stomach to the intestines. Also, doctors suggest that you make absolutely certain that there is no pressure on baby’s stomach immediately after eating and if you need to, you can add a bit of rice cereal to the formula to thicken up the fluid. If you are nursing your child, pump some of your milk so that you can give one or two feedings a day with infant rice cereal formula.
To ease your fears, remember that acid reflux in babies is normal and most often just a simple case of spitting up. If it is causing your child a great deal of distress or pain, baby will cry after eating. Watch for symptoms that show your child is suffering. If baby seems happy after spitting up, there is probably nothing to worry about. Baby’s doctor will try to avoid prescribing medications if they are not needed, but in case medication is called for, gentle antacids can usually be safely given without adverse effects. In any case, don’t give baby any medication OTC or otherwise unless you speak with your doctor first.
Acid reflux is often referred to as heartburn and indeed one of the symptoms of acid reflux is that burning sensation that starts somewhere in the vicinity of your chest and works its way up through your esophagus and finally to your throat. Sometimes acid reflux is a passing symptom of having eaten too much or too much of the wrong things and other times it is indicative of some more serious underlying condition such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and hiatal hernias. For this reason, if you experience acid reflux more than once or twice a week it is imperative that you speak with your doctor or healthcare professional before trying any acid reflux medications over the counter.
Four Basic Acid Reflux Medications by Type
There are actually four different ‘types’ of acid reflux medications which have been successful in treating this oftentimes excruciatingly painful condition. The classifications include proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers, antacids and anti-gas medications. Of the four, anti-gas medications like Beano or Gas-X aren’t true acid reflux medications but they can help if excess gas is causing undigested foods and stomach acid to reflux up into the esophagus. The other three types of acid reflux medication do, in fact, treat acid reflux but they all approach it in a different way.
Antacids and Anti-Gas Medications
The purpose of taking an antacid when experiencing acid reflux is because they can neutralize stomach acid before it refluxes. Although you may still experience some amount of reflux, it shouldn’t be as painful if a good percentage of the acid has first been neutralized. Some antacids are sold in chewable tablets, some are tablets you can take with milk or water and others are liquid suspensions such as Pepto Bismol. These do not inhibit the production of stomach acid as H2 receptor blockers or proton pump inhibitors do, but an antacid can relieve the symptoms. So too can an anti-gas medication if it relieves bloating and pressure that is causing acid reflux.
H2 Receptor Blockers
At one time, as is the case of many of our OTC medications today, H2 receptor blockers were only available by prescription. These provide relief that is longer lasting than an antacid and can be used safely by people who experience acid reflux a few times a month. However, in the treatment of such things as GERD or hiatal hernias, a new class of medication has been found to work better and that is the proton pump inhibitors. H2 receptor blockers on the market which can be purchased without a prescription would be such pharmaceuticals as Zantac and Pepcid AC.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Like H2 receptors, proton pump inhibitors stop the production of stomach acid but they are normally not prescribed for periods longer than two weeks at a time. There are some which are sold OTC, but those too are only to be taken for up to two weeks and only once every four months. It is of vital importance that if you are suffering from acid reflux more than twice a week so that you would need a medication of this caliber that you seek medical counsel. Again, ongoing acid reflux is generally a case of some more serious illness or condition.
It cannot be stressed enough that any problem which is ongoing should always be seen to by a qualified medical professional. There is a chance it may be nothing and then there is an equal possibility that it may be something that needs medical or surgical intervention as would be the case with a severe hiatal hernia. Acid reflux can certainly be a case of having had too much to eat or drink but it could be something far more sinister. Acid reflux medications are available by prescription as well as over the counter, but you need to know what to treat in order to find the right medication for you.
Suffering from acid reflux is more painful than many people believe so that when they do have a bout of what was formerly called ‘acid indigestion,’ they suddenly know how serious this can be. Whether you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other conditions such as Ellison-Zollinger syndrome, it is imperative to understand that diet and lifestyle can go a long way in treating acid reflux and that there are certain acid reflux foods to avoid.
Acid Reflux Foods to Avoid List
Although there are certainly specific foods to avoid, it is more important to understand food groups that can trigger acid reflux. For example, chocolate is a known culprit. So when you are compiling an acid reflux foods to avoid list you may want to list chocolate for sure, but then you would need to have sub categories such as brownies, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies and things of that nature. Among the items on your acid reflux foods to avoid list would be:
- Alcohol (a beverage, yes – but a key trigger for acid reflux)
- Fats of any kind – including fried foods and even fats normally considered healthy
- Sweets – candies, sugary drinks, cakes, donuts, etc.
- Caffeine in any form – beverage, supplements, coffee, tea
- Mints – predominantly peppermint
- Citric acid – fruits, juices and a big culprit is tomatoes!
Of all the items on the acid reflux foods to avoid diet, chocolate is the hardest one for people to go without. Do you know just how many chocoholics there are in this world?
Lifestyle Changes Are Also Important
One of the items you will often find on an ‘acid reflux foods to avoid list’ is not a food at all. It is common to find tobacco listed on foods to avoid, but this is technically a ‘drug’ unless, of course, they are referring to someone who chews tobacco! However, on a serious note, tobacco does have serious repercussions besides the typical carcinogenic concerns and that is that tobacco has the unfortunate side effect of relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter which then allows stomach acid to push back up (reflux) into the esophagus where it doesn’t belong. The first item, therefore, on lifestyle changes is to quit smoking. This is easier said than done, but it is a necessary treatment for acid reflux as well as in terms of your overall health.
Dietary Habits, Obesity and Exercise
Dietary habits also need to be reassessed. How and when you eat is just as important as what you eat. It does absolutely no good to avoid certain foods if you are going to eat enormous meals that stretch your stomach and thus prompting acid reflux. It is recommended that those who have ongoing problems with acid reflux eat much smaller meals more frequently. Also, in conjunction with changes in eating habits, it is important to recognize that obesity and acid reflux do tend to go hand and hand. As you learn to control what you eat and how much you eat, the severity of acid reflux should subside to some extent.
It is suggested that light exercise may also be of some help even though data in this regard is inconclusive. What we do know is that extreme exercise can exacerbate acid reflux so be aware of this if you plan on adding exercise to your regimen to reduce weight as a remedy for acid reflux. Nonetheless, it is of prime importance to consult with a medical professional prior to treating what you feel is acid reflux because it may be some underlying condition which is even more serious. It is good to know which acid reflux foods to avoid, but it is better to know what is causing the symptoms in the first place.
There probably isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t had, at one time or another, an episode of heartburn severe enough to reach for the good old fashioned chalky mint flavored antacids. However, some people are more prone to it than others, which is why there are a million and one heartburn relief remedies. The trick is to find heartburn relief that is safe and effective for you. But, first you need to know what is causing that sour stomach that repeats on you.
What Causes Heartburn?
In order to find effective heartburn relief, it is important to understand the triggers that cause it. Heartburn is named as such because of the burning sensation experienced in the chest when stomach acid comes up backwards through the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). At this point the acid irritates the delicate lining of the esophagus causing that painful burning we have come to know as heartburn and why we are so intent on finding heartburn relief remedies.
What Causes the Acid to Work Back Upwards?
Sometimes the LES is not functioning properly and other times the valve is just weak. Then there are simply times when we eat too much of the wrong foods that cause excess acidity which cannot be neutralized quickly enough during the natural digestive process, so it refluxes (comes up the wrong way). The thing to look for is whether you have frequent heartburn which necessitates taking regular doses of heartburn relief medicine or if it only happens infrequently. If you have frequent heartburn it could be GERD, a disorder which often needs medical diagnosis and intervention.
Two Types of Heartburn Relief Remedies
If you have been diagnosed with GERD or other disorders such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, it is doubtful that heartburn relief natural remedies or antacids will provide the type of treatment needed. The treatment of choice for these types of disorders that affect the LES would be a group of medications classified as proton pump inhibitors which help to reduce the amount of acid being produced in the stomach. This is a significantly different approach than taking antacids which simply neutralize the acid in the stomach as opposed to stopping the production of it.
What Are the Best Heartburn Relief Remedies?
As mentioned, there are two types of heartburn relief remedies and they type which is best depends on the cause. Proton pump inhibitors are the best heartburn relief remedies because, over time, they help to stop the production of excess acid in the stomach. This is the best treatment for ongoing disorders. The best heartburn relief remedies for the occasional occurrence of heartburn might be an OTC antacid or heartburn relief natural remedies.
Natural Heartburn Relief Remedies
Some people swear by home remedies for heartburn. In fact, perhaps the number one heartburn relief home remedy is something we all typically have on hand in our refrigerators – milk! For heartburn relief, milk does seem to neutralize excess acid while it also soothes the lining of the esophagus which is burning from the reflux acid. Other people find that aloe vera helps to soothe the burning sensation even more powerfully than milk. Aloe vera is available in both gel caps and in liquid form at health food stores as well as in many pharmacies.
Whether you choose to find heartburn relief naturally or in pharmaceuticals, the main concern is to keep a diary of how often it occurs if you find that you seem to be experiencing it frequently. If you find that you are subjected to heartburn more than twice a week over a period of weeks, it’s time to consult with your doctor as there is obviously some underlying problem. However, for those of us who just have periodic bouts of heartburn, a simple OTC antacid or a heartburn relief home remedy should do the trick.