Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

Burping, disrupted sleep, abdominal pain, nausea, even vomiting and choking … if you’ve experienced these symptoms, you’re likely suffering from chronic acid reflux, also commonly known at GERD. You’re not alone. Roughly 25%-30% of Americans experience GERD-related heartburn multiple times a week.. One Norweigen study surmises that acid reflux is 50% more common than 10 years ago.I personally suffered bouts of GERD and acid reflux during and even after my endurance training years, and my symptoms persisted until I finally gave up grains once and for all. More debilitating than average, occasional heartburn, GERD symptoms chip away at your daily quality of life, and if left unattended, can even eventually lead to esophageal cancer . GERD and acid reflux are becoming more prevalent , and supposed ‘miracle’ pills are more pervasive than ever: from TUMS and Pepcid to prescription medications, the market is flooded with treatment options. How did a condition usually associated with late-stage pregnancy and over indulgence become an epidemic? Instantly download your Guide to Gut Health What is GERD, or Acid Reflux? Are They the Same Thing? Reflux, more commonly known as ‘heartburn,’ occurs when stomach acid moves backwards into the esophagus, sometimes as a result of the esophageal sphincter (the muscle that connects the stomach and esophagus) malfunctioning. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a recurring, severe form of acid reflux. Acid Reflux and GERD Symptoms People who suffer from acid reflux and GERD tend to experience some combination of these symptoms regularly: Chest pain or burning sensation in your chest Regurgitation or even vomiting Coughing Stomach pain/discomfort Nausea Bad breath Tooth decay Respiratory problems What Causes Heartburn and Acid Reflux? There are many contributing factors to heartburn and acid reflux, and depending on who you talk to, the causes will vary. Some blame foods that cause acid reflux, citing tomatoes, garlic, mint, chocolate, vinegar, and alcohol as “food triggers.” According to some doctors, the physiological causes are diverse: sliding hiatus hernia, low lower esophageal sphincter pressure, a relaxation of the lower sphincter, the acid pocket, obesity, among others. Other factors, like obesity, genetics, pregnancy, and even stress can allegedly also generate the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. There is also a correlation between NSAID (think: aspirin and ibuprofen) and GERD – which might account for the many athletes and trainers who I know who rely on pain relief from medication, and then struggle with acid reflux . Some even notice the connection between higher levels of estrogen and GERD symptoms, perhaps why it was long associated with pregnant women With so many factors contributing to the causes of GERD, it’s easier to understand why so many suffer. However, the physical response to GERD and the treatment don’t quite connect. While the problem is rising acid, most medications treat excess acid, which doesn’t address the weakened esophageal sphincter, and might make one wonder, are these ‘wonder medications’ just treating the symptoms, and not the actual problem? How to Stop Heartburn: the Most Common Acid Reflux … Continue reading Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies