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Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease – It is just the other name for Acid Reflux or a Persistent Acidity.


Have you experienced a burning sensation that rises from your abdomen and reaches your throat through your chest? This condition is commonly known as Acidity. Most people suffer from acidity occasionally. It mostly happens after consuming a large meal with high fat content, food that increases acidity in the stomach, or after lying down too quickly after eating.

It is a condition where acid from the Stomach comes up into the food pipe (Esophagus). GERD, when left untreated, can result in serious life-threatening complications, including Esophageal cancer. Dr. Abhijit Ghosh, Sr. Consultant Sonologist – MBBS (CAL), DGO(BURD), CBET(USG) shared with Future Healthcare his insights and simple home remedies in avoiding this chronic medical state.

Here are some of the symptoms that you should definitely watch out for if you have frequent acidity:

  • Frequent HeartburnIf you experience heartburn more than 2 times a week on a regular basis, be sure it is not normal. Starting somewhere in the abdomen and extending to your throat, heartburn is more commonly experienced after taking a meal.
  • Morning NauseaIn GERD, stomach acid goes back to the mouth and Esophagus, leading to nausea and a bad, sour taste in the mouth. This commonly happens in the morning, because there’s a long gap between dinner and breakfast of next morning.
  • Chronic Dry CoughIn addition to heartburn, unexplained coughing that gets aggravated at night is one of the primary symptoms of this disease.
  • HoarsenessAcid reflux making its way to the voice box can lead to hoarseness and sore-throat for no apparent reason.
  • Chest PainPain that starts high in the abdomen is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. However, if you feel pain rising in your chest for any reason what so ever, it is always advisable to get medical help ASAP.
  • RegurgitationPartially digested food coming back to the throat, signifies indigestion, something that is not meant to be taken lightly.
  • Bad BreathIn spite of brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, if you constantly use mints and chewing gums to mask your bad breath, it may very well be a case of GERD as acid reflux causes stinky breath.
  • Prolonged sour taste in mouth
  • Belching
  • Restlessness
  • Indigestion

Major Causes:

Unhealthy Eating habits

  • Skipping meals or not eating at regular times
  • Overeating
  • Eating just before sleeping

Food taken excessively

  • Tea/ Coffee/ Soft drink/ Soda
  • Spicy Foods
  • Acidic fruits such as lemon/ orange
  • Food rich in fat content
  • Junk foods such as burger, pizza & donuts.

Side Effects of Medicine

  • Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Medicines for high blood pressure
  • Medicines for anxiety and depression
  • Antibiotics
  • Bisphosphonates to treat bone diseases

Existing Medical Conditions

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Connective Tissue disorders
  • Zollinger Ellison Syndrome

Other Causes

  • Smoking
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Excessive Exercise stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Infection by Bacterium called helicobacter pylori

Diagnosis:

If you suffer from the symptoms of acidity you can consult your family doctor or any general practitioner. Based on your case the doctor may ask you to undergo:

  • x-ray of the Esophagus and the Stomach
  • An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy which enables the doctor to see the lining of the oesophagus and stomach

Preventive Measures:

  • Don’t consume spicy food or fried foods too often.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. One should be taking at least 2 servings of fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables. Green leafy vegetables would be a really good choice to go for.
  • Eat small, regular meals. Try to reduce the gap between meals to not more than 3 hours
  • Consume your last meal at least a few hours before sleeping
  • Avoid medications like NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and steroids
  • Reduce stress. Deep breathing, going for a walk and being in nature are some of the activities which can help in reducing stress.

However, if you are already suffering from acidity, here are some of the Home Remedies for acidity which really work. So before you start with antacids for the treatment, do try these home remedies and you may get rid of the problem.

Basil leaves: Eat basil leaves promptly at first sign of acidity. Can also boil 4-5 leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes.

Cinnamon: Add half spoon of Cinnamon powder in a cup of water, boil for few minutes and drink this 2-3 times a day.

Buttermilk:

  • Grind half to one teaspoon of Methi seeds with little water to make a paste. Mix it in a glass of buttermilk and have it.
  • Add a tablespoon of White Vinegar or Lemon juice to a cup of buttermilk and keep it for 5 minutes before drinking.
  • Mix a pinch of Black Pepper in a glass of buttermilk and drink it.
  • Mix a tablespoon of Coriander leaf juice in a glass of buttermilk and drink it.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

  • Mix 1-2 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in half a cup of water and drink it.
  • Mix 2 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with 1 teaspoon of organic Honey and drink before eating a spicy meal.

Cloves: Chew 2-3 cloves thoroughly.

Jaggery: Jaggery is high in Potassium. After each meal, take a small piece.

Ginger:

  • Take 2-3 teaspoon of Ginger juice in a day for combating acidity
  • Can boil Ginger in water and drink the water twice a day.

Cumin seeds:

  • Crush roasted Cumin seeds and stir in a glass of water. Drink after each meal.
  • Boil seeds in water, strain and drink.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of Coriander seed powder, a teaspoon of Cumin seed powder and a teaspoon of Fennel seed powder and some sugar in half cup of water and drink empty stomach.

Aniseed: Soak a teaspoon of Aniseed in a cup of boiled water overnight. In the morning, strain the water add a teaspoon of organic honey and sip it at least 3 times during the day.

Cold milk: After a meal, drink a glass of cold milk (not iced milk)

Lemon and ginger juice: Drinking this concoction 15 minutes post meal, counters acidity quickly.

Dr. Abhijit Ghosh.
MBBS(CAL), DGO(BURD),CBET(USG), Sr. Consultant Sonologist.

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