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  • Does Food Leave A Bitter Taste In Your Mouth? Check If You Have GERD

    When your comfort food brings discomfort, it is possible that you have may have this disorder.
    by R.M. Mauhay .
Does Food Leave A Bitter Taste In Your Mouth? Check If You Have GERD
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  • Do you taste the meal the you just had when you burp? How about burning chest pains at night? Experiencing acid reflux too often? If your answer to these questions are “yes”, then it’s best to seek your doctor as you just might have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or  GERD.

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    We have introduced the concept of GERD here, and its connection with acid reflux. But GERD warrants your attention  — since its symptoms are often misunderstood, it can lead to series complications if left untreated. Let's go through foods that trigger it, and some lifestyle changes you should consider doing to treat it.

    What is GERD?

    GERD is what happens when acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI). It is a chronic type of acid reflux. "Chronic," meaning something that happens often. 

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    But how often should acid reflux be experienced in order for it to become a health concern? Mayo Clinic says that mild to moderate acid reflux occurs at least once or twice a week for people with GERD.

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    GERD can affect individuals from all ages, from infants to adults. But according to the AAAAI, people with asthma are at higher risk for developing GERD. In fact, some asthma medications may worsen reflux symptoms, which in turn worsens asthma symptoms by irritating the airways and lungs.

    Pregnant women are also prone to suffering heartburn/acid reflux due to hormonal changes that sometimes allow the esophagus to relax. And as established, acid reflux that happens often may lead to GERD.

    What does GERD pain feel like?

    Heartburn is a tell-tale symptom of GERD. Think of it as a burning sensation in your chest, which starts behind your breastbone and steadily rises to your neck and throat. Those who have GERD says it's like having a bitter taste in your mouth, since it feels like the food you ate is coming back up.

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    What are the symptoms of GERD in adults?

    Gastroesophageal reflux is a common occurence and you have probably experienced it at least once in your life. But if the symptoms below are affecting your daily life, then it may merit a check up with your doctor.

    • acid regurgitation (retasting food after eating)
    • difficulty or pain when swallowing
    • sudden excess of saliva
    • chronic sore throat
    • laryngitis/hoarseness
    • inflammation of the gums
    • cavities
    • bad breath
    • chest pain (seek immediate help)

    What food should be avoided by people with GERD?

    When acid reflux happens, it is also assumed that hyperacidity is present. Healthline identifies these items, which may be your comfort food, as hyperacidic and should be avoided:

    • fatty food
    • spicy food
    • chocolate
    • citrus fruits
    • pineapple
    • tomato
    • onion
    • garlic
    • mint
    • alcohol
    • coffee
    • tea
    • soda

    Lifestyle changes to consider

    If you think that GERD is nothing serious, just regular acid reflux and maybe some heartburn and chest pains here and there that will eventually go away, think again. Left untreated, the constant reflux eventually damages the esophagus, which could lead to an operation.

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    Before brushing GERD off as something mundane, here are some lifestyle changes that you can do to help fight it off.

    When you sleep

    • Elevate the head 6 to 8 inches when in bed
    • Avoid lying down within 2 to 3 hours after eating
    • Avoid sleeping on your right side as this triggers heartburn

    When you eat

    • Stay away from hyperacidic food and beverages
    • Decrease caffeine intake
    • Avoid skipping meals
    • Limit your meal size. Evening meals should not be heavy
    • Chew gum after eating

    Harmful habits

    • Avoid smoking
    • Decrease alcohol intake
    • Lose excess weight
    • Avoid stress

    How stress affects GERD

    Stress can trigger heartburn. Try and practice relaxation techniques, as experts say anxiety might make some of the GERD symptoms worse. (Read more ways to release stress here.)

    How is GERD treated?

    The Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Diagnosis of GERD, published in Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine states that heartburn and acid regurgitation are often considered the typical symptoms of GERD, and an office diagnosis of it may be made when those two are present.

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    Aside from adopting a lifestyle change, there are some over-the-counter medicines, like antacids and H2 blockers, that help in suppressing symptoms. Chamomile, marshmallow root, licorice root, and slippery elm also help when dealing with GERD.

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    Looking for home remedies for acid reflux? Find it here.

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