Have you ever felt like there was an acid war going on in your body after you just ate? The fiery battles create a burning feeling in your stomach and under your breastbone. The front lines get blown to smithereens, rushing up your throat, causing you to burp acid.
The war gets bigger. You feel bloated. You feel like throwing up will finally end the war, bringing peace to the insides of your body…until your next meal.
It’s not a war. It’s probably heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Try saying that five times. (Feel free to make your life easier by saying the abbreviated form: GERD.)
Another Big Word: Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)
LES is a ring of muscle fibers that prevents swallowed food from moving back up the esophagus, a tube connecting your mouth to your stomach. People who experience heartburn and GERD have a weaker LES, which allows food and all the acids that get mixed with it in your stomach to leak back up your throat. It sounds as gross at it tastes.
You Might Have GERD If…
– You feel like food is stuck in your breastbone
– You feel sick after eating
– You find yourself coughing and wheezing after eating
– You have difficulty swallowing
– You have hiccups
– You have a hoarse voice or a sore throat
You’re More at Risk for GERD When…
– You’re overweight
– You drink a lot
– You smoke a lot
– You’re pregnant
– You have a medical condition such as scleroderma or hiatal hernia
And the GERD tends to intensify at night, when you bend over or lay down, or if you eat a big meal.
When Should You Be Worried?
You should consult your doctor if you have coughing spells and blood specks when you cough, difficulty swallowing and unexplained weight loss. To be safe, you should see your doctor if you experience the acid war symptoms mentioned above as well. For more info, visit Drugs.com.