Scary words, right? In fact, this is a description of a harmless condition. The Latin phrase fragments mean: Gastro — stomach, Esophageal — esophagus, Reflux — throwing back. The burning sensation occurs when your stomach «throws» its contents into the esophagus — the tube that connects the oral cavity and the stomach.
This part of the digestive system is not adapted to contact with stomach acid, so it damages it. As a result, you feel a burning sensation.
Why does gastroesophageal reflux occur? There are 3 possible reasons:
Overfilling of the stomach. If you heartily eat Olivier salad for New Year, celebrate May with kebabs or just have a hearty lunch — the stomach can become very crowded. The digestive tract is arranged in such a way that the contents do not pass further until they are processed in the stomach. Food and gastric juice have no other way out but the esophagus — heartburn begins.
Excessive acid formation. Evolutionarily, the stomach is an organ where food is disinfected. You know, food and water contain bacteria, and not all of them are our friends. Animals, including humans, have learned to secrete hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It is used as an antimicrobial weapon.
The more saturated the taste of food is — the more suspicious it seems to the stomach. The body does not understand that you love chili sauce. For him, this is a potentially poisonous substance. Therefore, in response, the stomach intensively secretes acid. A sharp increase in its amount causes heartburn.
Gastritis and drug lesions. Some drugs can increase the acidity of gastric juice, or reduce the protection of the mucous membrane. The most common problem is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as diclofenac or acetylsalicylic acid. Also, diseases of the stomach and the entire digestive system can increase the frequency of heartburn.
How to get rid of heartburn?
First, you need to eat 4 times a day. This will allow the stomach to restore normal acid formation and prevent its accumulation. Food should exclude fried, spicy, fatty, floury, smoked and sweet. Add more vegetables and cereals, drink at least 2 liters of pure water a day.
Never drink soda to fight heartburn! Indeed, when soda enters the stomach, it reacts with acid and neutralizes it. But a lot of carbon dioxide is formed, like in soda. What does this lead to? The walls of the stomach are irritated by bubbles and begin to intensively produce new acid. This leads to a powerful intensification of heartburn almost immediately after taking soda.
What drug to use? In the USA, a combined preparation of aluminum hydroxide and magnesium silicate is used. It is approved by the FDA and listed in the Orange book 2019. Unfortunately, there are no drugs with exactly this composition in Ukraine, but there are very similar ones.
Aluminum and magnesium hydroxides react with stomach acid and neutralize it. They have high efficiency, since 5 molecules of hydrochloric acid account for 2 molecules of these substances. This means that a small amount of such a combined preparation can show a strong effect in reducing heartburn.
Aluminum hydroxide positively affects the walls of the stomach and stimulates the formation of protective mucus on their surface. This increases further resistance to acid.
After the reaction, ordinary water and insoluble salts of aluminum and magnesium chlorides are formed. Aluminum can cause constipation, and magnesium, on the contrary, has a laxative effect. Their combination allows to compensate for side effects.
Want to know what other drugs are recommended for use in the USA? In that case, read our article!
Instructions and the trade name of the drug for heartburn are available at the link.