Know All about Acid Reflux and Gas

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Acid reflux and gas are two common discomforts that many people experience in day-to-day life. While acid reflux is primarily caused due to the improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, gas is a resultant of the digestive tract eliminating carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, methane, etc. from the body.

Acid Reflux

What is Acid Reflux?

Here are a few things you need to know about acid reflux:

  1. Gastroesophageal reflux is the medical name for acid reflux (acidity). 
  2. Worldwide, 20% of the population suffers from acid reflux. 
  3. In this condition, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t function properly and hence, food from the stomach rises back on to the esophagus. This causes mild heartburn as digestive juices (acids) mix with food and climbs up the esophagus. 
  4. When one experiences such symptoms persistently, more than once in a week the diseased condition is known as GERD.  If untreated, GERD can lead to severe chronic diseases like
    • Ulcers
    • Cancer
    • Scarring
    • Barrett’s esophagus etc.

5. Drinking alcohol, smoking, obesity, connective tissue disease, and pregnancy can cause acid reflux in people.

Role of Drugs in Decreasing the LES Pressure

The LES gets weakened due to hernia or aging resulting in quick acid reflux. Medications like nitrates, caffeine, aminophylline, and xanthine derivatives increase gastric acid secretion, lower LES pressure, and also prevent salivary buffering. All of this, in turn, can increase acid reflux.

What is Gas?

Some of the important facts regarding gas are:

  1. When one talks, eats food or drinks beverage, they swallow gas along with food. 
  2. Also, gas can be produced by breaking down food particles by colon bacteria. 
  3. This gas is excreted out of the human system through rectum or mouth. 
  4. Each human body reacts to gas-producing food items differently. Hence, some people excrete more gas than others. 
  5. The smell associated with flatulence is because of sulfurous gas release. 
  6. Bacteria in the large intestine are responsible for gas elimination.

Is There Any Link between Acidity and Gas?

Gas and acid reflux are two different medical symptoms. But the one common reason for acid reflux and gas is the food one consumes. If one eats less uncooked meat and drinks less carbonated beverages, both acid reflux and gas discharge can be controlled. There is also an interesting fact that when one belches frequently, it can cause acid reflux. Also, eating a large amount of food at one time can trigger acidity and gas at the same time. Hence, acid reflux and gas are not directly related but can occur together.

Treatment

Treatment of acidity includes:

  1. Antacids
  2. H2 blockers
  3. Anti-inflammatory medicines
  4. Green vegetables like ginger
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Non-citrus fruits and vegetables
  7. Cooked seafood meat consumption instead of raw, etc. 
  8. One must also include base-rich food like carrots, etc. that will reduce heartburn in the esophagus by neutralizing the acid. 

Treatment of gas includes:

  1. Medications
  2. Lactose supplements
  3. Home remedies like frequent small meals, standing and strolling after a meal, including ginger and asafetida in meal, drinking soda, etc. 

Prevention

Both acidity and gas can occur due to overweight and unhealthy eating habits. Including vegetables and fruits in prescribed quantity, chewing and breaking down the food properly in the mouth, avoiding carbonated beverages, exercising and avoiding habits like drinking or smoking, etc. are some preventive measures one can follow to stay healthy.

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