Have you ever experienced a burning sensation in your chest, almost as if your heart is on fire? Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your throat followed by a foul taste in your mouth? If you have, then what you’ve experienced is acid reflux, commonly referred to as heartburn.
Acid reflux is a common condition that almost everyone experiences at least once during their lifetime. During digestion the stomach produces enzymes and acid to digest food. When the mixture of stomach acid and enzymes are refluxed into the oesophagus more frequently than they should, or for an extended period of time, acid reflux occurs. The most common symptom of acid reflux is a burning sensation behind the breast cavity.
A number of factors can contribute to acid reflux including:
o Being overweight – excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen and can push your stomach up causing acid to reflux into the oesophagus
o Overeating – Eating too much food can slow digestion.
o Posture and tight clothing – Sitting hunched over while eating or wearing constricting clothing around your waist puts pressure on your stomach
o Foods – many types of food trigger heartburn including: caffeine, fired or fatty foods, salty food, chocolate, excessive alcohol, garlic, peppermint, onion
o Smoking – nicotine aggravates the stomach and oesophagus and inhibits saliva production.
o NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen can aggravate the stomach.
Antacids and acid-suppressing medicines can help relieve and prevent acid reflux from occurring. There are many types of these drugs available for over-the-counter (OTC) purchase such as the antacids Acidaburn Rolaids and Pepto-Bismol, and acid-suppressers such as Pepcid AC.
Nevertheless, in rare cases, despite the medications an acid reflux sufferer is given to treat their symptoms, they continue to experience symptoms. Many medical researchers are beginning to believe that the ineffectiveness of the treatment may be due to the fact that those who are being treated for acid reflux are actually suffering from agents within the oesphagus that are not related to stomach acid. This condition is known as non-acid reflux.
What is non-acid reflux?
Non-acid reflux is when other potentially harmful agents (not stomach acid) are refluxed into the oesophagus such as bile. It has been discovered that non-acid reflux is defined as a reflux that has a greater pH level than 4. Unfortunately, not much is known about non-acid reflux, its symptoms, or the affects it has on the oesophagus.
It has been found that most cases of non-acid reflux occur after mealtime when the contents of the stomach are being neutralized, and the condition is more present in children than adults.
Medical researchers are still trying to figure out the exact cause of non-acid reflux. Currently new technology is being used that can accurately determine the presence of acid or non-acid in the oesophagus by measuring the Ph level.