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GASTRO-ESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISORDER {ACID REFLUX}

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is a common condition. The basic characteristics of this disease is a burning pain in the stomach or lower chest area. This is also known as acid reflux or heart burn.
Heartburn or acid reflux is caused when the anatomical sphincter of the oesophagus (food pipe) at the lower end relaxes at the wrong time, leading to the stomach acid to keep a copy in the oesophagus (food pipe). This causes acid reflux or heartburn which further causes pain, irritation and other symptoms within the stomach. Constant acid reflux can lead to gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
In other words, the liquid content of the stomach backs up or refluxes (regurgitates) into the food pipe (esophagus). The liquid can damage or inflame the lining of the stomach, i.e., esophagitis. These are some of the visible signs and symptoms of inflammation that are found in most of the patients. The stomach enzymes mainly contain acid and pepsin, two juices that are produced by the stomach. Pepsin is an enzyme that helps with the digestion of proteins within the stomach. The refluxed stomach juice (liquid) can also contain bile that has backed-up into the stomach from the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Therefore, it can be said that, the acid is the most injurious component of the refluxed liquid. The bile and pepsin enzymes can also harm the oesophagus by causing inflammation and further damage.

Symptoms of Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disorder

  • There is pain and a burning sensation in the chest, throat, and stomach.
  • Heartburn
  • Gas or Flatulence
  • Chest Ache
  • Regurgitation
  • Indigestion
  • Bad Breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Heaviness in the abdomen after eating
  • Frequent burps
  • Mimic heart pain (angina)
  • Regurgitation of undigested food coming into the mouth
  • Over-eating
  • Eating at odd times
  • Skipping meals
  • Unhealthy eating habits include excessive consumption of tea, coffee, cold drinks, spicy, junk, and oily foods.
  • Pain may reach the rear in many patients.
  • Stomach ailments like ulcers
  • A bad lifestyle, like taking an excessive amount of stress, sleeping less, drinking less, smoking, etc.
  • Many patients with GERD are awakened from sleep because of heartburn or pain.
  • Acid-induced erosion of teeth can be caused by prolonged regurgitation of acidity.
  • Acidity can cause inflammation in the esophageal blood vessels.
  • Prolonged acidity can cause bleeding into the esophagus.
  • The bleeding may be severe because of acidity.
  • Due to acid reflux, swallowed food may grind to a halt in the esophagus, causing severe narrowing.
  • The refluxed acidic liquid can cause coughing.
  • Narrowing of the breathing tubes may lead to an attack of asthma.
  • Inflammation of the larynx and throat can be caused by recurrent acidity.
  • The severe acidity resulting in inflammation may result in a raw throat and hoarseness of voice.
  • Inflammation of the lungs and infection can cause reflux of acidic liquid.
  • The refluxed acidic liquid also causes aspiration that may result in infection of the lungs and leads to pneumonia. This sort of pneumonia can cause pulmonary fibrosis.

    GASTRO-ESOPHAGIAL REFLUX DISORDER’S CAUSES

There are four main factors that contribute to GERD. These are:

  1. Lower Esophageal Sphincter Abnormalities
  2. Hiatal Hernias
  3. Abnormal Esophageal Contractions
  4. Prolonged or slow emptying of the stomach

LOWER ESOPHAGEAL SPHINCTER (LES)

The function of the lower esophageal sphincter is to prevent acid reflux, which is very vital mechanism. The oesophagus may be muscular. It’s a tube-like structure which extends from the lower throat to the stomach. The LES is found in the form of a ring of muscles which surrounds the lower-most end of the oesophagus and it joins the stomach, when there is contracting and shutting off of the passage from oesophagus to the stomach. The closing of this passage helps to forestall the reflux. Finally, when the saliva and food are swallowed, the LES relaxes for a few seconds to allow the food and saliva to pass into the stomach through the esophagus. Then it closes again to complete the process.

Patients with GERD have been detected to have a several abnormalities. There are primarily two factors that cause GERD. The primary abnormality is a weak contraction of the LES, which reduces the strength to forestall reflux. The second abnormality is LES relaxation. These prolonged relaxations can cause reflux to happen more easily.

HERNIA HIATAL

Many patients with GERD have hiatal hernias which can cause reflux disorder. If there’s herniation, then a tiny low part of the upper stomach, that’s attached to the oesophagus, pushes up through the diaphragm. As a result, a small part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter come to be in the chest, and therefore, the lower esophageal sphincter is no longer at the extent of the diaphragm. It appears when the diaphragm that surrounds the lower esophageal sphincter is incapable of preventing the refluxes.

ESOPHAGEAL CONTRACTIONS

The swallows are important in eliminating the acid within the esophagus. Swallowing can cause a ring-like wave of contraction of the muscles of the esophagus, which narrows the lumen (inner cavity) of the esophagus. The contraction can cause peristalsis that begins within the upper oesophagus and moves to the lower esophagus. It pushes the food and saliva into the stomach through the easophagus.

In patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disorders, several abnormalities in contraction may occur, like waves of contraction might not occur after each swallow, or the waves of contraction may die out before they reach to the stomach. The pressure is thus generated by the contractions, will be too weak to push the acid into the stomach. Smoking may cause GERD in many patients.

GASTRO PARESIS (STOMACH EMPTYING)

Most of the refluxes occur after meals. These could be because of transient lower oesophageal reflux relaxations that are caused by distention of the stomach with meals.

HOME REMEDIES FOR GASTRO-INTESTINAL REFLUX DISORDER:-

SEEDS OF SAUNF OR FENNEL:

A teaspoon of fennel seeds’ powder mixed with a glass of warm water relieves acidity, heartburn, bloating and other symptoms. This also improves digestion.

BLACK CUMIN SEEDS:-

Take one tablespoon of cumin seeds. Chew them directly or place them in a large glass of water and allow them to absorb the water in order to relieve acidity, once your drink that. Black cumin seeds are a gastro-protective remedy. These are very effective in reducing pain and preventing acidity. These seeds also help to scale back the symptoms like heartburn, bloating, constipation, pain, and nausea, etc.

SABJA SEEDS’ HEALTH BENEFITS:

Take one tablespoon of sabja seeds, mix them into water and then drink it. This drink is extremely effective and provides instant relief from acidity.

CLEVES:

Intake of a chunk of clove gives really good relief from acidity and its symptoms like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, and gastric irritability etc.

WARM LUKEWARM WATER:

On an empty stomach or before going to sleep at night,one should drink a glass of lukewarm water. It provides relief from acidity.

JUICE OF WATERMELON:

A glass of watermelon juice is an extremely effective remedy for acidity, and it’s also good for digestion.

CARDAMOM :

Chewing one cardamom pod on daily basis helps to forestall acidity, improves digestion, and flatulence.

BUTTERMILK

The carboxylic acid present within the buttermilk normalises the acidity within the stomach and offers an effective result. A glass of buttermilk topped with black pepper and coriander helps to instantly heal the symptoms of acidity.

GINGER :

Drinking ginger tea or chewing raw ginger is incredibly beneficial for getting relief from acidity and its symptoms.

The Banana:

Taking banana neutralises the acidity and provides relief from heartburn. A mix of bananas and milk helps to suppress excess acid secretion.

PAAPAYA:-

Papaya helps to reduce gastric acid secretion and offers relief from acidity. This happens due to the enzyme papain, present in papaya.

AJWAIN:-

Intake of ajwain on daily basis gives good relief from flatulence and acidity. It’s a very effective anti-acidic agent stimulating proper digestion.

ICED MILK:

Drinking 1 glass of cold (chilled) milk instantly relieves acidity.

BAKER’S SODA:

Intake of 1/2 teaspoon of hydrogen carbonate and mixing this in 1/2 cup of water gives quick relief from heartburn and acidity.

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Adding turmeric into your daily diet or milk relieves heartburn and acidity.

Instability can be forestalled by lifestyle changes that can help to cure ACIDITY.

1) Stay physically active by inculcating activities like swimming, cycling, dancing, or participating in your favourite sport.

2) Consume smaller four to five  meals times per day instead of two or three heavy ones.

3) Eat your dinner at least two hours before going to bed.

4) Avoid overeating and chewing your food while eating.

5) Do not blink right after eating.

6) Try to manage your weight if you’re obese or overweight

7) While lying down, raise the pinnacle end of your bed.

8) Refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking.

AVOID FOODS THAT ARE PRONE TO ACIDITY.

Very spicy and oily food,

Tea, coffee, and cold drinks,

Raw onions, and garlic.

Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and kiwis.

Toasted tomatoes etc.

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