Gastroesophageal reflux disease is common, and there is no clear treatment or reason for it. Some triggers can make acid reflux spring up; this includes spicy foods. However, if you are looking for ways to combat the symptoms, we will address that in a section of this article. Now let's dive into a better understanding of what acid reflux is.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

If you have ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or throat after eating, you may have experienced acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach to the throat. The two main symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation. This can happen after eating a large meal or drinking coffee or alcohol. Other causes include stress, excess weight, a lack of stomach acid or hypochlorhydria,  poor gastric motility, and smoking. People with acid reflux may experience heartburn, indigestion, and chest pain. Various treatments are available to help relieve symptoms and heal acid reflux. Most people with acid reflux can manage their condition with dietary and lifestyle changes..

In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary temporarily. Surgery is also an option for very severe cases of acid reflux. With proper treatment, most people with acid reflux can live relatively normal lives.

How long does it take to heal?

There is no one answer to this question, as acid reflux and the associated heartburn symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. However, there are some general things that you can keep in mind when it comes to healing acid reflux. First, it is important to understand what acid reflux is and what causes it. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, which can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat. This is often caused by a relaxed or weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When this muscle relaxes, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Several things can trigger acid reflux, such as certain foods, drinks, and stress. Avoiding these triggers can help to prevent acid reflux from occurring in the first place. However, if you are already experiencing heartburn symptoms, you can do a few things to help ease the pain. Over-the-counter antacids can help to neutralize stomach acid and provide short-term  relief from heartburn, however these contribute to an underlying issue of a lack of stomach acid. Elevating your head while you sleep can also help keep stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Stomach Acid Symptoms.

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), is a condition that affects the digestive system. When stomach acid rises back into the esophagus, it can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat. This is called heartburn. Heartburn symptoms can last for a few minutes or several hours. Acid reflux can also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • coughing
  • trouble swallowing
  • wheezing
  • chest pain

You may have acid reflux disease if you experience any of these symptoms regularly. Treatment for acid reflux disease depends on the severity of your symptoms and how often they occur. Focusing on improving your gut motility, and healing the gastrointestinal lining is the first start.  If your symptoms are mild and only happen occasionally, you may be able to manage them with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals. Working to reduce stress will improve how well your gastrointestinal system functions.  If your symptoms are more severe, you may need medication or surgery. With treatment, acid reflux disease can be managed and controlled.

Are Heartburn and Acid Reflux Related?

Acid reflux and heartburn are not the same things. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, but acid reflux can also cause other symptoms and can occur without the symptom of heartburn. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can happen after eating or drinking, or even lying down. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that may be caused by stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus. For some people, it is due to a hypersensitive LES. Acid reflux is a common condition that affects many people. It can cause heartburn, indigestion, and other symptoms. If you have acid reflux, you may be able to manage it with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But if it doesn't go away, you may need to see a doctor. Acid reflux can be a serious condition. If it's not treated, it can lead to other problems, such as GERD or Barrett’s Esophagus. GERD is a more serious form of acid reflux. It can cause heartburn, trouble swallowing, and other problems. If you have acid reflux, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

You can do many things to reduce the risk of acid reflux and heartburn. Often, food sensitivities, stress, smoking, excess weight, and poor gut health are leading causes. Avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and avoiding lying down after eating can help. Several supplements may improve gut health like magnesium, melatonin, betaine, and probiotics. If lifestyle changes don't work, you may need to discuss further management options with your doctor.

Heartburn Symptoms.

Heartburn is a burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when acid from your stomach moves up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as a burning feeling in your chest, a sour taste in your mouth, and trouble swallowing. Certain foods or drinks usually trigger heartburn, but it can also be caused by pregnancy, stress, obesity, and certain medications. You may have acid reflux disease if you have heartburn more than twice a week.

It is recommended to avoid spicy foods if you are experiencing mild heartburn. More risk factors come with heartburn symptoms. If the pain persists, then you may have chronic heartburn. To treat heartburn, you must also find acid reflux relief. Whether you are experiencing severe or occasional heartburn, you must find good heartburn prevention that works for you.

What Does Chronic Acid Reflux Look like?

Chronic acid reflux is when acid and other stomach contents are regurgitated back into the esophagus. This can cause heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth. Chronic acid reflux is also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD symptoms can often be relieved by making lifestyle changes such as avoiding trigger foods, losing weight, quitting smoking, and elevating the head of your bed. If these changes do not work, supplements or medications may be needed to control acid production or help repair the damage caused by chronic acid reflux. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat chronic acid reflux.

At Home Treatment for Acid Reflux.

Acid reflux can be a chronic condition that lasts longer than occasional heartburn. If you have chronic acid reflux, you may need to make lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Avoiding late night meals, adjusting your sleeping position, and increasing your activity level can help reduce the frequency and severity of your acid reflux. Focusing on reducing stress, getting daily exercise, and avoiding foods you may be sensitive too are important for improving your gut health. You may also need to take medication to treat your acid reflux, but these are meant to be temporary measures. Over-the-counter antacids can help neutralize stomach acid and provide temporary relief from heartburn. Prescription medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) work by blocking acid production in the stomach and are more effective at treating chronic acid reflux than antacids alone. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options if you have chronic acid reflux.

If you have acid reflux, there are a few at-home treatments you can try to help relieve your symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals more frequently, and avoiding lying down for three hours after eating can all help reduce acid reflux. Raising the head of your bed by six to eight inches and sleeping on your left side can also help lessen symptoms. Digestive enzymes, probiotics, magnesium, and dealing with underlying stress can be very helpful to heal your gut. If these at-home treatments don't work, talk to your doctor about other options.

Contact Index Health.

We don't believe medical care should be a mystery to the patient. We're here with you every step to understand our process and the reasoning behind your treatment.

We dedicate time to understanding your genetics, history, lifestyle, and goals. Combined with advanced lab tests, our functional medicine approach gives you in-depth information about your health and body.

We identify and address the root cause of disease and plan for prevention and long-term health using functional medicine-based changes in nutrition, lifestyle, and targeted supplements.

With proactive 30-60 min functional medicine appointments, primary care, unlimited messaging, and mini-visits, we ensure that you achieve your health goals.

Key Takeaways of Acid Reflux.

Now that you know what acid reflux is and all the symptoms that come with it, you know the best ways to sort out a treatment. Whether you get a mild case or an extreme case of acid reflux, you may have to take medication to keep the symptoms at bay. There are lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your acid reflux suppressed. If you continue to have extreme symptoms, contact your doctor and see what suggestions they can provide you.