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May 31 , 2009

Understanding Acid Reflux

Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


Acid Reflux

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A Quick Overview on Acid Reflux, Oesophagus and LES

Young or old, everybody will experience acid reflux (heartburn) during some part or their life. Therefore, it is important you understand what is occurring in your body so you can make the best possible decision in treating acid reflux. The following is a quick lesson in acid reflux, your oesophagus and LES.


The Oesophagus

The oesophagus is a muscular tube that runs from the back of your throat to the upper stomach. The oesophagus is lined with a mucous membrane, and is more deeply lined with muscle that acts to move food. As you eat food, the muscular channel contracts and pushes the food downward toward your stomach. The contractions which push the food downward are called peristalsis. It takes about 15 seconds for the food you swallow to travel through the oesophagus and reach your stomach.


The LES (Lower Oesophageal Sphincter)

The LES (Lower Oesophageal Sphincter) is located at the very bottom of the oesophagus. Simply put, the LES allows food to enter your stomach. Once the food passes through the valve, the LES closes tightly so that food cannot travel back up causing acid reflux. A normal functioning LES prevents food and stomach acid from coming back up the oesophagus.


Acid Reflux, Heartburn, GERD

At its most basic, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux, is a condition where the stomach backs up (refluxes) and the liquid content contained within it returns to the oesophagus. If the liquid were something like water, there'd be no problem. However, the liquid most often contains acid, pepsin (an enzyme that aids in digestion), and even bile. Over time, these agents can cause significant damage because of the concentration of acid within the liquid is often significantly higher and the liquid itself stays in the oesophagus-where it can do its damage-longer than in normal individuals.


Millions of people experience acid reflux (stomach acid entering the oesophagus) which causes a burning sensation. The burning sensation is commonly termed heartburn. The more frequent the heartburn, the more likely the sufferer is prone to Barrett's oesophagus where the lining of the oesophagus erodes away. The long-term GERD or acid reflux can cause an oesophageal ulcer and even cancer.


The condition of the LES valve is absolutely necessary for overall good health. By allowing yourself to suffer from acid reflux (heartburn) continually, you could be putting yourself at a major medical risk and it eventually could be deadly. There are numerous causes to GERD or acid reflux and it is important you continue to educate yourself and seek treatment.


A Good Starting Point to Cure Acid Reflux

Depending on how severe your GERD is, treatment may involve one or more of the following lifestyle changes and medications or surgery. Here is a list of lifestyle changes you might want to consider:


  1. If you smoke, stop.
  2. Do not drink alcohol.
  3. Lose weight if needed.
  4. Eat smaller meals.
  5. Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  6. Avoid lying down for 3 hours after a meal.
  7. Raise the head of your bead 6 to 8 inches by putting blocks of wood under the bedposts- just using extra pillows will not help.


Say Good Bye to Acid Reflux

Finally, be pro-active! Did you know that you can cure your acid reflux naturally…? GUARANTEED! Learn more lifestyle changes, learn what foods you should eat and stay away from, learn what home-remedies give you instant relief from heartburn, learn body exercises to strengthen your LES, and take control of your acid reflux today!


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