Acid reflux symptoms are hard to miss. The burning and discomfort can sometimes be mistaken for other things, but for the most part, those who suffer know exactly what is going on, and usually why it is happening. However, they may be experiencing secondary conditions that are painful and irritating, but what they don't know is that these conditions can be a result of leaving GERD unchecked and untreated. Few realize that acid reflux and sinus problems can be related.
Most people know that acid reflux is where acid from the stomach splashes back up into the esophagus and eats away at the delicate tissues. That leads to pain and damage in the area.
What isn't so well known is that this acid can reach up as far as the sinus cavities in the head. When that happens, sinus problems will ensue.
The most common symptoms are pain and pressure in the sinus cavities. When this happens, sufferers usually have no idea that their GERD is the cause, and that by getting it under control, they may lessen the severity of sinus problems, if not eliminate them all together.
The most obvious way to relieve sinus problems associated with GERD is to get the acid reflux under control. There are a number of medications your doctor can prescribe that can help, and the ones that usually work the best are proton pump inhibitors (PPI's).
PPI's stop acid from being produced within the stomach. Some will still be there to help digest foods, but the excess will be stopped. The idea is to allow the esophagus a chance to heal and greatly lowers the possibility of acid seeping up into the throat and sinuses. PPI's can be bought over-the-counter, but doctors can prescribe a stronger version for those with really bad GERD symptoms.
If you're not keen on taking medication then relief might be found for acid reflux and sinus problems simply by changing the way you sleep at night. Even when taking medications, you can still have some problems in this area.
Try sleeping with your head and chest elevated at least six inches from the bottom half of your body. Stacking pillows can work, but using a dedicated 'wedge pillow' or lifting the mattress so the entire top half of the torso is elevated is generally more comfortable. You could also try putting blocks under the head end of the bed, but make sure whatever you use is secure. Elevating you head and chest possibly won't stop acid reflux entirely, but gravity can do wonders for keeping acid down and in the stomach where it belongs.
Along with medications and changing your sleeping position, you can also alter your diet to avoid foods that seem to give you the most problem. Common triggers are spicy foods, fatty foods, and foods that are slow to digest.
After having acid reflux for a while, most people become aware of what foods do them the most harm and which ones leave them feeling relatively good. By focusing on the foods that cause the least pain and discomfort, the sinuses might feel some relief from the erosion and pain.
Even when acid is under control, damage already done to the sinuses can cause problems. This is why you should seek simple treatments for acid reflux and sinus problems. Some relief can be found with humidifiers and saline nasal sprays. These can calm and soothe by adding moisture back into the damaged areas of the sinuses. If nothing seems to help and your sinus problems seem to be getting worse rather than better, it might be time to talk with your doctor about more aggressive treatment. In the meantime, see if the small changes listed above offer you at least some measure of relief.
At the first sign of symptoms heartburn sufferers reach for their favorite relief. This is usually an antacid or something that will neutralize stomach acid. Does it work? That depends, that depends on the type of heartburn you have. This important to understand because the treatment is no the same.
A second type of heartburn is caused by a lack of stomach acid. This is a condition more common among older people. It simply happens that as the body ages it may begin to make less acid. Although, it’s not limited to just older people. I’ve known folks in their 40’s afflicted by this. It’s not pleasant to be reduced to eating very small plates of bland, easy to digest vegetarian meals. There are ways to improve the situation, however.
How Heartburn Symptoms Differ – While the general symptoms are the same for both types there is a clue or two that can help you identify which is which. General symptoms are chest pain, hoarse cough, urge to regurgitate, bloating, belching and a bad taste in the mouth.
The bad taste is a good clue. With acid heartburn, the taste will be sour. With acid deficiency, the taste will be bitter. Excessive belching can also be a clue of low acid stomach.
What’s The Remedy? – In both cases the stomach can’t handle the job of digesting food. With an over acidic stomach the answer is to give the stomach what it can handle. This means eating less per meal, eating less dense protein and eating more salad.
The other heartburn – With an acid deficient diet it may become a matter of eating only one or two things per meal until you can identify the acceptable and unacceptable foods. Pay attention to seasonings as well. For example, mashed potatoes may work but not with butter. It may be that meat is the problem or it may be vegetable protein as well.
Aside from reworking your diet there are ways to make up for the missing acid. Papaya and papaya juice have enzymes that breaks down meat, similar to stomach acid. Pineapple, which contains an enzyme that reduces protein, can also be useful here, for some people. If meals have become a tense time for you, try starting off with a cup of chamomile tea which contains a relaxant as well as healing compounds.
Treating stomach problems with food and herbs has certain natural advantages but if they don’t seem to work well enough for you then HCL may be the answer. Hydrochloric acid is the stomach’s tool for digesting food. Also an enzyme called pepsin, both are normally triggered when food enters the stomach. Supplements of both these products are available in stores.