How Long Does Acid Reflux Disease Last…
People who suffer from chronic acid reflux disease usually have one thing in common - a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES ). When the LES weakens, it malfunctions and no longer closes properly, allowing acid to enter into the esophagus.
Even though it is known how acid reflux occurs, it is not entirely understood why some people suffer from chronic acid reflux and others do not. That being said, it is believed that certain factors contribute to the worsening of acid reflux, making it a lifelong condition for individuals who develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What are some of the factors that contribute to chronic/lifelong acid reflux disease? Most factors that cause long-term acid reflux are those that weaken the LES , resulting in its persistent malfunction. They include:
Lifestyle choices - There are many foods and beverages that are known to trigger acid reflux including high fat foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, etc. In addition to trigger foods, stress, and certain bad habits such as smoking, eating directly before bed, eating too quickly, and wearing tight garments around the waist, can also contribute to chronic acid reflux
Food sensitivities - Some people have certain allergies to food, such as gluten or dairy. Others have individual sensitivities to certain foods that simply don’t agree with their digestive system, all of which can cause acid reflux.
Obesity - Being overweight or obese can effect the digestion process and places pressure on the stomach causing it to push up against the LES .
Medical conditions - Acid reflux can be a secondary condition brought on by certain medical problems such as:
- Hiatal hernia - A hernia that develops due to a weakened hiatus, a tiny hole in the diaphragm that separates the stomach and the esophagus. When the hiatus weakens, it can no longer keep the stomach and esophagus separated, resulting in the stomach protruding through the hiatus up into the diaphragm, creating a hernia. This Hernia is believed to weaken the LES .
- Diabetes - Diabetics (both type 1 and type 2) are prone to gastroparesis, a condition that occurs when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents into the small intestines. Delayed stomach emptying increases the risk of acid being refluxed into the esophagus.
- Asthma - Many asthmatics experience acid reflux after an asthma attack, and the reason is likely because the coughing and sneezing that occurs with the attacks changes chest pressure and prompts acid reflux.
Other medical conditions related to acid reflux disease include those with drug treatments that trigger reflux, such as depression/anxiety disorders, arthritis, high blood pressure, angina, asthma, etc.
How long does acid reflux disease last and when will I see improvement in my symptoms? It depends on the individual. For some, the recurrence of acid reflux may last for days, weeks, several months or even years. How long acid reflux lasts really depends on if the individual seeks treatment, and how effective the treatment is that is chosen.
Due to the fact that there are so many factors that can lead to chronic acid reflux disease and GERD, different treatments have been developed to help sufferers alleviate, manage and prevent their symptoms. Some treatments are very minor, while others are more evasive. The following are the four main forms of treatment
1. Lifestyle changes. Diet modification (I.E eliminating or limiting acid reflux trigger foods from the diet), changing eating habits (I.E. reducing the amount ingested and eating slowly), abandoning bad habits, wearing comfortable clothing when eating, exercising, losing weight, obtaining proper sleep, and reducing stress, are all lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve acid reflux. For the average person, symptoms begin to ease within a few days or a week, and a significant improvement should be seen within a month.
2. Alternative remedies. Herbal remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, etc. are non-drug treatment options. Symptoms usually start to ease within days of the treatments, but it depends on how the sufferer’s body responds.
3. Drug treatments. Antacids, H2 receptor blockers, and Proton Pump Inhibitors are the main types of drug treatments recommended to acid reflux sufferers. Most of these medications can be purchased over-the-counter, and are basically designed to neutralize or reduce acid. Symptoms tend to ease within an hour, or may not occur if the medication is taken prior to eating.
However, drug therapy is not always the best approach for improving acid reflux, as some medications are primarily designed for alleviating heartburn, and may only mask other acid reflux symptoms. Furthermore, drugs can cause other side effects. For these reasons, drugs are not often recommended for long-term treatment.
4. Surgery. Fundoplication, Stretta Procedure, and EndoCinch, are all surgeries designed to strengthen the LES . For the vast majority of people who undergo one of the above surgical procedures, symptoms typically ease within a week or a month after surgery, and generally continue to improve with fewer acid reflux occurrences, as time progresses. Although lifestyle changes are usually also recommended to make the improvements long term.
Keep in mind, the above treatment information is a brief and general overview, therefore, the type of treatment an acid reflux sufferer needs, and the improvement of their symptoms, will depend on their specific condition. The reason is because in order to effectively treat acid reflux, it’s not simply a matter of reducing acid during an attack; it’s to treat the problem that is causing the acid reflux in the first place.
Can acid reflux disease be cured? Not really, as it is usual for everyone to suffer with acid reflux from time to time, but using one of, or a combination of the above treatments can control chronic acid reflux. You need to understand that acid reflux is not something you catch like the flu; it is triggered by what you put in your body, a disease or a malfunctioning within your body, and/or the mental and physical stresses you place on your body. So in most cases, when acid reflux becomes a lifelong problem, the best way to manage and prevent acid reflux from occurring is to receive a proper diagnosis and then make the necessary lifestyle changes combined with other treatment options to achieve effective relief.
Remember your goal is to treat the cause of your acid reflux disease, not just the symptoms.
Acid Reflux Treatment
If you are suffering from acid reflux, GERD or heartburn most doctors will recommend some form of prescription medication to combat the symptoms you are experiencing. The problem with this approach is apart from being expensive, most medications prescribed for acid reflux, heartburn and GERD are not designed for long term use and tend to mask the problem rather than addressing it.
For reliable acid reflux, heartburn and GERD treatment information that focuses on preventing and controlling symptoms naturally, read Stop Acid Reflux Now; an easy to follow, comprehensively researched downloadable book by Kathryn Whittaker.
Stop Acid Reflux Now shows you how to easily take control of your acid reflux, heartburn and GERD symptoms through the use of effective natural methods that avoid the need for expensive medications. Read how some really simple lifestyle changes can have a huge positive effect on your health, enhancing the quality of your life.