At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. If the LES doesn’t close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest discomfort called heartburn.
If acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What causes acidity?
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
- Snacking close to bedtime
- Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods
- Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea
- Being pregnant
- Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications
What are the symptoms?
- Heartburn: A burning pain or discomfort that may move from your stomach to your abdomen or chest, or even up into your throat
- Regurgitation: A sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat or mouth
- Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting
- Dysphagia — the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
- Hiccups that don’t let up
- Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat
Can Acid Reflux Disease Be Treated With Diet and Lifestyle Changes?
One of the most effective ways to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid the foods and beverages that trigger symptoms. Here are other steps you can take:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and modify the types of foods you are eating.
- Quit smoking.
- Sleep properly
- Put blocks under the head of your bed to raise it at least 4 inches to 6 inches.
- Eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down.
- Don’t wear tight clothes or tight belts.
- Lose weight with exercise and diet changes
- Check if any medication could be triggering your heartburn or other symptoms of acid reflux disease
If antacids don’t help, your doctor may try other medications. Some require a prescription.
- Ranitidine is one of the oldest drugs to be used in acidity and upper intestinal ulcers and has been considered to be safer than similar other drugs like proton pump blockers.
- It is a commonly prescribed medicine for countering acidity and also on the World Health Organisation’s ‘Model List of Essential Medicines’. Following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning about the presence of low levels of carcinogens in Ranitidine, there are a lot of misconceptions about its use.