Rohan was a good singer but one day he could not sing the high notes. He went to a doctor who found two sores in his throat, caused by stomach acid that rose high in his throat. Rohan was prescribed a long course of antibiotics and told to stop eating out, stop drinking tea and coffee and to try and prevent acidity.
Also called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), acid reflux occurs when acid and other liquids from the stomach rise up in the oesophagus or the food pipe and the throat and harm the throat lining and the internal lining of the food pipe.
Acid reflux in the day is under control as the person is upright. However at night when one is lying down, it is easier for the acid to rise up and cause damage. Dr Atmaram DC, gastro enterologist, Rajashekar Multi-Speciality Hospitals says,"The number of people attending our clinic with reflux symptoms is on the rise. Most of them have simple reflux symptoms like heart burn, upper abdominal pain and sometimes sore throat and cough. Thankfully most of them can be treated with simple medications and lifestyle changes. A few of them may need an upper GI endoscopy, where the erosions if present can be detected. A small number of patients may need further tests to confirm Refractory Esophagitis. A key-hole surgery may help in most cases.."
Dr. Jayakanth, consultant at Apollo Clinic says, “Acidity damages the esophagus, commonly known as the food pipe or gullet. It might lead to a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus which is a gastro esophageal reflux disease. While some people are affected by acidic reflux after eating meat, many react to vegetables. People face a lot of gastric issues due to excessive work and stress and food consumption at odd hours. It is important for one to sleep well, exercise regularly, control the quantity and quality of food and avoid stress.”
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
according to the Mayo Clinic
■ Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest
■ The sensation spreads to the throat and has a sour taste
■ Chest pain
■ Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
■ Dry cough
■ Hoarseness or sore throat
■ Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
■ Sensation of a lump in the throat
Lifestyle changes that must be made Experts say it is best to avoid foods that are high in fat such as fried snacks, chocolate and peppermint. They also suggest that patients should avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and smoking.
Remedies suggested by Dr Jayakanth
■ Use licorice flavouring anise instead of milk or mint. Licorice is a legume plant (root of the lycyrrhiza glabra) which has been associated with medicinal properties in Ayurveda
■ Although coffee and spicy food can trigger the disease, there is no pressing need to abstain from these indulgences completely in order to battle acidity. Moderation is the key
■ Understand and monitor your body type
■ Control the quantity and quality of consumption
■ Sleep properly
■ Exercise regularly
■ Stress also seems to be a cause of acidity so avoid stress as much as you can
■ Don’t fret: eat little rather than not eat it all
Acid Reflux trivia
Certain conditions make a person susceptible to GERD and it can be a serious problem during pregnancy. The elevated hormone levels of pregnancy probably cause reflux. At the same time, the growing foetus increases the pressure in the abdomen. Both these conditions probably increase reflux. Also, patients with diseases that weaken the esophageal muscles, such as scleroderma or mixed connective tissue diseases are more prone to develop GERD.