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Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid gets into the oesophagus (the muscular tube which connects the throat to the stomach). The acid travels up towards the throat and can cause discomfort. The lining of the stomach has a mucus layer to protect itself from the acidic contents, but the oesophagus is unprotected from the acid. When acid leaks up into the oesophagus it can cause the symptoms of heartburn, which is the burning sensation in the middle of the chest.

    • Heartburn – a burning sensation in the middle of the chest
    • Regurgitation - a bitter hot or unpleasant taste or fluid in the back of the throat or mouth
    • Bloating and feeling sick
    • Bad breath
    • A hoarse (croaky) voice
    • Cough or hiccups that keep coming back

What causes Acid Reflux?

Drink

Alcohol and caffeine can relax the valve between your stomach and your oesophagus, allowing the reflux of acid.

Stress

Stress and lack of sleep can raise how much acid your stomach makes and can cause heartburn, especially if you are prone to it anyway.

Food

Fatty foods can delay the emptying of the stomach making acid reflux more likely.

Medications

Some types of medications can irritate your esophagus and cause acid reflux.

Weight

Being overweight or wearing tight fitting clothing can increase the pressure on your stomach making acid reflux more likely to occur.

Hiatus hernia

A hiatus hernia is where part of the stomach moves up into the chest which can cause acid reflux.

How can I relieve Acid Reflux?

Healthy eating

Cut out bedtime snacks or large meals late at night. Eat slowly and wait before lying down or exercising. Cutting down on alcohol, coffee or fizzy drinks can also help.

Stopping smoking

Smoking can trigger acid reflux or make it feel worse once it starts. If you do smoke, try avoiding it just before or after eating.

Weight loss

Exercise and losing weight can often help. Although certain abdominal exercises like stomach crunches can also push acid out of the stomach, causing acid reflux.