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Acid Reflux... In My Day It Was Indigestion!
When I was young, we had indigestion, now we discuss heartburn, acid reflux and that great mouthful known as gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (thankfully described as GERD)
Whatever you call it, if you are suffering from belching, gas or a bloated stomach lets consider the cause.
Its been a hard and stressful day at work. You race home, gulp down a quick meal and collapse into bed for a well earned rest....But wait. Suddenly you experience a burning sensation in the top of your stomach. You may belch and probably feel bloated. This is the beginning of acid reflux, and can cause acid and stomach content to wash back into the oesophagus creating a burning sensation.
This is often an indicator that something is wrong in your digestive system. When we eat or drink, the digestive process begins in the mouth with enzymes in saliva beginning the task by starting to break down the food to promote easy digestion.
The food continues down the esophagus, passing through a valve prior to entering the stomach where it comes in contact with stomach (hydrochloric) acid to further break down the food.
(Incidently, I recall cleaning cement from bricks with a commercial hydrochloric acid preparation which indicates the strength of this acid.!)
Occasional reflux is normal, but when it occurs regularly and disrupts daily life, it is described as a disease - Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD and can contribute to cancer where the stomach and esophagus meet.
If you are suffering from heartburn the first thing you should do is take a good look at what you are eating. Over consumption of fatty foods and refined carbohydrates including biscuits, cakes and white bread can affect digestion and and cause reflux symptoms. Other irritants include salt, spices, sugar, curries, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
Before you take drastic action to treat heartburn lets look at suitable supplements to aid digestion. As well as supplements that contain digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, there are a number of specific formulas to relieve indegestion. these contain ingredients such as active herbs including Globe Artichoke Leaf, Gentian Root, Fennel Seed and Ginger. These natural herbs have been used for years in treating stomach complaints. Swedish Bitters is another possible treatment well recommended. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidacterium lactis are beneficial for digestion by maintaining the friendly bacteria in the gastrointestional tract.
If you feel that you are not over indulging in any of these foods, and reflux symptoms persist, see your doctor, as untreated gastric reflux can damage the esophagus and even lead to cancer. Doctors can now conduct an impedance pH test which determines whether your reflux is acid or not.
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