Understand the Symptoms

Acid reflux is a common issue, affecting up to 20 percent of the population. Its symptoms include a burning sensation in the throat and chest, bad breath, and coughing. Knowing the symptoms of acid reflux is essential for understanding how to properly treat it. Knowing the symptoms can help you determine the best course of action, whether it be changing your diet and lifestyle or taking prescribed medications.

Let’s take a look at the key symptoms of acid reflux:

  • Burning sensation in the throat and chest.
  • Bad breath.
  • Coughing.


Heartburn is the leading symptom of acid reflux. It is a painful burning sensation in the chest or throat that typically happens after meals. The feeling can last several minutes or even hours, and it might worsen when someone bends over or lies down.

There are various triggers for heartburn, including dietary habits, medications, bad posture, and stress. Dietary behaviors that can bring on heartburn include eating large meals and eating too soon before bed. Low-fiber foods also increase risk; as well as high-fat items like butter and red meat. Fatty foods take longer to leave the stomach since they move at a slow rate through digestion, which leads to more acid reflux activity in the stomach.

Certain medications can also promote heartburn like aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics and some blood pressure meds like calcium channel blockers. People who are obese may have more difficulty treating acid reflux symptoms if they wear tight clothing around their waist or lie down right after eating; as bad posture can contribute to increased symptoms of heartburn due to reduced intrabdominal pressure allowing stomach contents to be pushed up towards the esophagus more easily in this position when compared with an upright one. Additionally, chronic stress has been linked with increased esophageal hypersensitivity to acids in the stomach which brings on pain similar to that caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Chest pain

Chest pain associated with acid reflux is known as “heartburn” and can cause sharp or burning sensations in the chest and throat area. The pain may become more intense when lying down, bending over, eating or exercising. Heartburn is more common in those who suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is a more severe form of acid reflux.

People may also experience chest pain due to complications of GERD, such as esophagitis (inflamed esophagus).

Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • Nausea
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Burping

People with chronic Gastroesophageal reflux disease often describe the feeling of having something stuck in their throats, difficulty swallowing or regurgitating food after meals. If these symptoms occur alongside chest pain, it is important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Difficulty swallowing

Acid reflux is identified by the feeling of burning in the chest or acidic taste in the back of the throat. This can be painful, and in some cases, cause difficulty with swallowing or speaking. Difficulty swallowing can be a sign that something is blocking your esophagus, making it difficult to get food from your throat to your stomach.

In some cases, common symptoms of acid reflux may also include chest pain and difficulty breathing. Depending on the severity, difficulty swallowing can become a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment at a hospital or clinic. Pain relief medications like antacids may help relieve symptoms temporarily but long-term solutions may also involve lifestyle modifications such as:

  • avoiding foods that trigger reflux
  • eating smaller meals more often throughout the day
  • losing weight if needed

If you are experiencing any trouble with swallowing, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider and let them know so they can properly diagnose and treat any issues related to acid reflux you might have. This will help reduce discomfort and minimize any health risks associated with untreated acid reflux such as an increased risk of esophageal cancer.


Regurgitation is the feeling of acid backing up into your throat or mouth. Often, regurgitation of bitter-tasting stomach acid accompanies heartburn. You may experience this acid reflux symptom as often as daily or just once a month. Regurgitation can be a sign that a more serious condition is present, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Some people describe regurgitation as an unpleasantly sour taste that gathers at the back of the tongue and throat while others find it bitter and unpleasant. GERD is when episodes of regurgitation occur twice or more per week. As we age, our lower esophageal sphincter tends to become weaker, increasing our likelihood for experiencing GERD symptoms such as regurgitation.

If you are experiencing occasional episodes of regurgitation, there are numerous lifestyle modifications you can make to reduce symptoms. These lifestyle modifications include:

  • Avoiding large meals prior to bedtime
  • Limiting all forms of tobacco product use
  • Reducing stress and anxiety levels
  • Watching your diet including limiting spicy foods and acidic drinks such as coffee and soda which trigger heartburn
  • Avoiding lying down for 3 to 4 hours after eating

Causes of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest and throat. Certain foods, such as spicy foods, citrus fruits, fatty foods, and carbonated beverages, can trigger acid reflux. Additionally, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, and stress can all contribute to the onset of acid reflux.

Let’s look at some of the causes of acid reflux in more detail:


When it comes to acid reflux, what you eat and drink can have a major impact on the severity of your symptoms. Eating certain foods can trigger the production of stomach acids, which in turn can cause heartburn and other signs of acid reflux. Many common foods are triggers for individuals suffering from acid reflux, including coffee, chocolate, alcohol and fatty or fried foods. Additionally, acidic food items like tomatoes and citrus fruits may trigger acid reflux symptoms in some people.

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To reduce your risk for experiencing an episode of acid reflux symptoms, cut back on fatty or fried foods as much as possible. Try eating smaller meals at more frequent intervals throughout the day and avoid large heavy meals before bedtime. Other suggestions include eating high-fiber foods (such as oatmeal), drinking enough water each day and avoiding carbonated beverages like soda or beer. Avoid foods that contain spicy or acidic ingredients as well as caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea. Occasional consumption of these items should not be a problem unless you are very sensitive to them; however, it’s best to avoid them if they do lead to episodes of heartburn or other acid reflux symptoms frequently when consumed.


Smoking is one of the most common causes for acid reflux. The nicotine in cigarettes relaxes the muscles at the lower end of the esophagus, allowing stomach acids to escape into the esophagus and throat. In addition, smoking can increase acid production in the stomach and delay gastric emptying – both of which can lead to episodes of acid reflux.

If you suffer from frequent and severe acid reflux episodes then it is important to quit smoking as soon as possible in order to reduce your symptoms. Quitting smoking has many other health benefits too, such as improved circulation and lung capacity, reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke – all potential symptoms that can lead to further comorbidities.

It’s best to talk with your doctor before you make any changes regarding your lifestyle or medications if you are on any prescription drugs for your condition.


Alcohol is known to trigger acid reflux in many individuals. This is due to the effects of alcohol on both the motility and function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a specialized band of muscle fibers that form a valve between the stomach and esophagus, which allows food passage into the stomach while keeping harmful acids out of the esophagus.

When alcohol is involved, however, it relaxes and weakens these band muscles, resulting in an excessive reflux. As such, consuming alcoholic beverages can lead to painful symptoms of acid reflux such as heartburn and chest discomfort.

Additionally, alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach, leading to further damage to tissues and walls. This irritation can cause abdominal pain as well as other digestive complications. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals limit their intake of alcoholic beverages if they suffer from acid reflux or if they are known to be sensitive to its effects.


There are several types of medications available that can offer relief from the symptoms of acid reflux. The type of medication you will require will depend on the severity and frequency of your symptoms.

Antacids are available over-the-counter and can be taken when acid reflux is experienced. These medications work by neutralizing stomach acid and provide quick relief. For individuals suffering from chronic acid reflux, H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) can be used to reduce the production of stomach acid. These drugs provide relief for up to 12 hours but should not be taken long-term as they could reduce absorption of essential nutrients in the body.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are designed to stop cells in the lining of the stomach from producing too much acid, which ultimately helps decrease symptoms associated with GERD and other digestive disorders like peptic ulcers. They may take a few days or weeks before full symptom relief is experienced however PPIs provide long-term relief when taken correctly. Additionally, PPIs may help heal tissue damage caused by excess stomach acid, providing even more potential relief for those who have suffered from GERD over a lengthy period of time.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When it comes to acid reflux, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor or healthcare provider. This will help to determine the cause of the condition and the most appropriate treatment. Different treatment options are available for acid reflux, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Here, we will look at diagnosis and treatment options for acid reflux:


Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows your doctor to look at the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a small camera and light on one end which is inserted down your throat. During the procedure, your doctor may take samples of tissue (biopsy) for analysis. Endoscopy can help diagnose the cause of potential acid reflux problems such as inflammation, hiatal hernia or the presence of bacteria.

Your doctor may also recommend an upper GI (Gastrointestinal) series X-ray to help evaluate the anatomy of your stomach and esophagus. This series consists of several images taken as you swallow barium (a special dye). The barium highlights the structures and organs in these areas to allow your doctor to examine them for any abnormalities or damage that may have resulted from acid reflux.

Endoscopy and upper GI series X-ray can help diagnose acid reflux problems, allowing for appropriate treatment planning such as:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • In some cases more detailed procedures such as surgical repair if necessary.


Medications are sometimes the most effective treatment option for managing acid reflux. Over-the-counter antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox and Tums, can neutralize stomach acids and provide short-term relief of acid reflux. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blocker medications can decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach over a longer period of time.

For people with more severe or chronic symptoms, their doctor may prescribe higher doses of PPIs or other types of medication. In addition to medication to reduce stomach acid production, certain diet and lifestyle changes may also be recommended to help reduce symptoms associated with acid reflux.


Surgery is usually not necessary to treat acid reflux. It may be recommended if medications are not reducing your symptoms and lifestyle modifications have not provided enough relief. Surgery is a last resort option because of the potential side effects and risks involved.

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The most common surgical treatment for acid reflux is fundoplication. During this procedure, the upper curve of the stomach (the fundus) is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to create a barrier to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. This surgery has generally been found to be effective in reducing symptoms of acid reflux, although it does come with some risks and possible side effects such as bloating, gas and difficulty swallowing.

Other surgical treatments for acid reflux include endoscopic procedures or laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (LARS). Endoscopic procedures involve using an instrument which is passed down your throat in order to insert small sutures or implants at the junction where your stomach meets your esophagus, in order to help lessen pressure on that area and reduce symptoms of GERD. LARS involves making small incisions in your abdomen so that surgeons can create small supportive tissue pulls which restrict the flow of stomach juices up into your chest cavity. Both these methods may provide some temporary relief from acid reflux, however they both carry risks such as infection and injury to surrounding structures like blood vessels or organs.

Before considering any type of surgical treatment for acid reflux, doctors will typically recommend a trial period using lifestyle modifications such as diet changes and/or using medications to help control their symptoms first before reaching for a scalpel. Discussing any underlying medical conditions you may have with your doctor prior to undergoing any type of invasive procedure will help ensure that you receive appropriate care prior to making those decisions about whether or not surgery for acid reflux should be done for you.

Home Remedies

Acid reflux can be an unpleasant and painful condition. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux without the need for medication.

In this section, we’ll explore a few of these home remedies and discuss how they can help treat acid reflux:

Avoid trigger foods

If you suffer from frequent acid reflux, it can help to know what foods and beverages may be triggering your symptoms. Certain items can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acid to escape and create burning sensations that can last for hours. To reduce the risks associated with reflux, avoid common trigger foods.

Although foods vary from person to person, common items that might trigger heartburn include:

  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks
  • Mint and chocolate
  • Spicy dishes that contain hot peppers or hot sauce
  • Other acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, citrus fruits or juices
  • Processed or cured meats like hot dogs, sausages and bacon
  • Butter-rich treats like pastries or ice cream
  • Garlic and onions
  • Sugar substitutes like aspartame

If a food seems to bother your stomach more often than not while eating it— try steering clear of it in the future. Acidic beverages like orange juice can also lead to discomfort. Furthermore, don’t eat too close to bedtime – try finishing your meals at least two hours before you turn in for the night so your body has ample time to digest before lying down flat.

Keep a food diary for several weeks if needed – writing down which meal caused discomfort – so you can have a clearer picture of what sets off your heartburn symptoms most frequently. It’s important to limit portion sizes as well – overeating can put more pressure on your digestive system leading to more frequent bouts of reflux pain after eating a meal.

Elevate the head of your bed

Elevating the head of your bed can help reduce the frequency of acid reflux symptoms. By placing blocks under the legs at the head of your bed four to eight inches, stomach acid can be kept in place and out of your esophagus. However, you should note that some sources do not recommend elevating just the head – they suggest raising the entire upper body up to a 30-degree angle for optimal relief from symptoms. Doing this makes gravity work in your favor and helps pull stomach acid back into its rightful place.

Additionally, avoiding eating close to bedtime and reducing caffeine intake may also help mitigate symptoms of acid reflux. Here are some tips to help:

  • Elevate the head of your bed four to eight inches.
  • Raise the entire upper body up to a 30-degree angle.
  • Avoid eating close to bedtime.
  • Reduce caffeine intake.

Lose weight

Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach acid travels up your esophagus, causing a burning sensation in your chest and throat. Losing weight can help to reduce and sometimes eliminate the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Losing excess weight helps reduce intra-abdominal pressure, allowing stomach contents to stay down instead of refluxing back up into the esophagus.

There are many ways to safely lose weight without resorting to fad diets or other unhealthy methods, some simple changes and lifestyle modifications combined with a balanced diet can lead to long-term change. Here are some tips for safe, effective weight loss:

  • Keep track of your eating by monitoring what foods you eat and when, this will help give you an understanding of how certain foods affect your symptoms.
  • Eat regular meals throughout the day rather than skipping meals or overeating at one sitting.
  • Increase daily activity levels through exercise such as walking for 30 minutes per day most days of the week or taking exercise classes at your local gym.
  • Create realistic goals that you can achieve over time instead of setting unrealistic expectations.
  • Aim for slow but steady weight loss over time as this is more likely to be successful in providing long term relief from acid reflux symptoms.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to help boost energy levels – avoid alcoholic drinks however as these can irritate the stomach lining further making acid reflux worse rather than better!

Quit smoking

Smoking cigarettes can increase the production of stomach acid and affects the muscles that control the closing of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This increases acid reflux symptoms like heartburn, chest pain and difficulty swallowing. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk for heartburn.

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In addition to reflux symptoms, smoking may worsen other digestive conditions such as ulcers and Crohn’s disease, which are both linked to an increase in stomach acid. The nicotine in cigarettes can constrict blood vessels, leading to poor digestion and slowing down our ability to break down food. Quitting smoking may help reduce these symptoms and improve your overall digestion.

Smoking also reduces saliva production which helps protect your esophagus from acid reflux or GERD. Saliva has a soothing effect on irritated mucus membranes and helps wash away irritating foods that cause reflux symptoms.

Quitting smoking is a challenging but worthwhile endeavor for many reasons –and reducing acid reflux is just one more reason why quitting smoking is so beneficial for your health!

Avoid lying down after eating

Most people find that eating smaller, more frequent meals helps reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Eating too much at once can also increase symptoms. In addition, lying down immediately after a meal can put additional pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and cause stomach acid to back up.

To help reduce acid reflux and danger related to it, try to avoid lying down right after meals. Wait at least two hours before you lie down after eating a meal to give your body time to digest the food and reduce pressure on the LES. During this time, try to remain upright or switch between sitting and standing positions throughout the day if you’re able.

If you have difficulty remaining in an upright position or have severe GERD-related symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or vomiting blood, it’s important to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and treatment with antacids or other medications as advised by your physician.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changes to your lifestyle can be an effective way to manage acid reflux and reduce its symptoms. Simple changes such as eating smaller meals, avoiding foods that trigger your acid reflux, sleeping more, and reducing stress levels can all help.

In this section, we’ll discuss these lifestyle changes in more detail and how they can help reduce your acid reflux symptoms.

Eat smaller meals

Eating smaller meals more frequently can help reduce the risk of acid reflux. Eating larger meals causes the stomach to fill up with air, which increases the pressure within it and makes it easier for food and stomach acid to be pushed back up into the esophagus. Eating smaller amounts of food spread out over 4–6 meals during the day is much more beneficial.

In addition, try to sit upright while eating. This will also help maintain adequate pressure in the stomach and help food stay where it is supposed to be, in your stomach rather than being pushed back up into your throat. Make sure you take at least one hour for every meal so that you can enjoy it without feeling rushed or anxious about finishing before you have to go somewhere else.

There are other lifestyle changes that you can make that can also drastically reduce symptoms of acid reflux:

  • Reducing or avoiding smoking and drinking.
  • Losing weight if necessary.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Eating low-acidic foods such as fruits and vegetables, poultry, whole grains and dairy products.

Avoid late-night meals

One of the biggest lifestyle changes recommended for treating acid reflux is avoiding late-night meals. Eating close to bedtime can slow digestion and cause the body to produce excess stomach acid. It’s best to finish eating at least three hours before going to bed.

If you need a snack in the evening, choose lighter items such as crackers, fruit, vegetables or plain yogurt. Avoid acidic or spicy foods, as these can worsen symptoms. Additionally, stay away from caffeine and alcohol – these are known to increase issues with acid reflux.

Other tips include:

  • Not eating large meals
  • Staying away from tight clothing which can put pressure on the stomach and aggravate symptoms.
  • Remaining upright after meals so that stomach acids aren’t able to move up into the esophagus; this might mean avoiding reclining activities after eating.

If you suffer with frequent or severe cases of acid reflux, discuss your options with a doctor – they may be able suggest other dietary changes that could help reduce your symptoms.

Avoid spicy foods

Making dietary and lifestyle changes is often the first step to reducing and treating acid reflux. Certain spicy foods (including chili peppers, jalapenos, garlic, and onions), as well as fried and fatty foods can increase stomach acid levels and irritate the stomach lining. Try to avoid or minimise these types of food for at least a few weeks to see if it improves your condition.

It might also help to try eliminating some of the more common trigger foods from your diet, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, or oranges
  • Tomato-based products like pizza sauce or salsa
  • Caffeine
  • Peppermint
  • Fried or greasy foods

If you are having issues with only certain foods, then eliminating that specific item may help. In some cases, completely avoiding a particular food or ingredient may be necessary for symptom relief.

Alcohol can also worsen acid reflux symptoms in some individuals due to its potential negative effects on digestion. Acidic alcoholic beverages (such as wine) have been linked to heightened levels of gastric acid production in particular so be sure to moderate your consumption accordingly if possible.

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly is a crucial part of managing acid reflux symptoms. Cardio exercises such as jogging, swimming, and biking can help reduce pressure on the stomach, thereby reducing acid reflux symptoms. Exercises that focus on toning your abdominal muscles may also be beneficial. Additionally, creating a regular routine of exercise helps to create structure in your life which can help to prevent stress levels from rising, as excess stress has been linked to an increase in symptoms of acid reflux.

Make sure to consult your doctor or health care provider before beginning any type of exercise program:

  • Cardio exercises such as jogging, swimming, and biking
  • Exercises that focus on toning your abdominal muscles

By Reiki

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