Acid reflux is a condition in which gastric acid is regurgitated- stomach acids rise up into the esophagus because the valve that separates the stomach contents from the esophagus is faulty.The word “reflux” comes from the Medieval Latin word refluxus which comes from the Latin word refluere, meaning “to flow back, to recede”. Acid reflux and heartburn are often used interchangeably. Acid reflux is the movement, the action of stomach acids going up the wrong way, while heartburn refers to the burning sensation.
A 2011 Norwegian study found that in most industrial nations, the incidence of acid reflux has risen by more than 50% since the beginning of the millennium. Statistics on the frequency of heartburn and GERD differ greatly. In accordance with some approximations, 7% of Americans have heartburn everday and 14% suffer it at least once every week. Alternative estimates suggest that GERD affects about 20% of the adult American population, mostly those in their forties or older. But, GERD can affect people of all ages, including infants and children.
Most Americans thinks it’s just another disease which can be cured by taking a pill. They treat the symptom rather than treating the source.
When I first asked my doctor what was wrong with my throat, he asked me if I woke up with a sour taste in my mouth. Check. Did I clear my throat often. Double Check. However, for me, when things got really bad, I could barely talk. Scary, huh? As I later discovered, the acid rising from my stomach was landing on my vocal chords. This condition is known as Silent Reflux. When I read more about it, I got really serious about getting things under control.
What are the common symptoms to help you decide if this is your problem?
Heartburn. Also called acid indigestion, heartburn is a burning pain or discomfort that can move up from your stomach to the middle of your abdomen and chest. The pain can also move into your throat. Despite its name, heartburn doesn’t affect your heart.
Regurgitation. Another common symptom of acid reflux is regurgitation — or the sensation of acid backing up into your throat or mouth. Regurgitation can produce a sour or bitter taste, and you may experience a “wet burp” or even vomit some contents of your stomach.
Dyspepsia. Many people with acid reflux disease also have a syndrome called dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is a general term for stomach discomfort. Symptoms of dyspepsia include:
- Nausea after eating
- Stomach Fullness or bloating
- Upper abdominal pain and discomfort
Symptoms of acid reflux may be a sign that stomach acid has inflamed your esophagus. When that happens, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus and cause bleeding.
With laryngopharyngeal reflux, adults may have heartburn or a bitter taste or burning sensation in the back of the throat. But they are less likely to have such classic signs of GERD. More often, symptoms in adults are vague and may be easily confused with other problems. The most common symptoms include:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Persistent cough
- A “lump” in the throat that doesn’t go away with repeated swallowing
Other symptoms include:
- A sensation of postnasal drip or excess throat mucus
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
Acid reflux can be pretty scary. Knowing that I didn’t want to take a pill forever, I decided to go on a quest to get healed and want to share with you what worked for me and what didn’t work for me. If you want to know what I did to start the healing process so you can get on your own road to recovery, go to my first post.