For the most time, whenever Mr. Sun has painful burning feeling in the chest area, he would take large amount of antacids to relieve his symptoms. However, in the last month, his symptoms seem to happen after each meal, a little different this time. He felt that the food or liquid consumed are “coming back up”, a sour taste in his mouth, bloating and sometimes feeling dizzy. He has been worried about these symptoms so he came in to seek help. He most likely suffers from Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD) which is commonly known as acid reflux and requires further treatment or intervention.
DID YOU KNOW?
GERD is a common disease in Malaysia. 40% to 50% of Malaysians suffered from the consequences of GERD. Most sufferers take them lightly and would not seek treatment nor knowledge to understand it.
(Note: Especially during Ramadhan, most of the Muslims population is facing this issue after long hours of fasting.)
HOW DOES IT HAPPENS?
- Let’s imagine our stomach is a “water tank” and there’s a lower esophageal sphincter acts as “water-gate” on top of our stomach.
- Under normal circumstances, the “water-gate” will only open when we swallow food but most of the time it is closed to prevent the backflow of stomach juice.
- When someone have unhealthy diet and lifestyle (eg: not taking meals on time), it will affect the structure of “water-gate” and loosen up.
- The deformed “water-gate” cannot close properly hence can cause back-flow of stomach acid to the upper digestive tract (oesophagus) and causing heartburn (burning pain in the chest area and throat), sour taste in the mouth due to regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes sufferer mistakenly thought there is a foreign substance stuck in the throat.
X Taking meals 2 hours before sleep
X Lying down right after eating
X Take spicy, acidic and oily foods, eg: chocolate, onions, garlic, mint, citrus fruits and tomatoes
X Drinking beverages like alcohol, coffee, tea, and carbonated drink
X Tight clothes and tight belt
X Taking NSAIDS group pain killers such as ibuprofen, mefenamic acid and aspirin.
√ Eat more frequently but smaller portioned meals ( Tips: If during Ramadhan, eat slowly and avoid overeating in non-fasting hours to prevent indigestion)
√ A short walk after meal
√ Take medication (eg: antacid with foaming agent, H2-blocker,proton pump inhibitor) as prescribed by doctor or pharmacist to reduce gastric hyperacidity and refux issue
√ Lose weight through exercise and healthy diet regime for overweight or obese individual
- Diet with high fibre food – contains prebiotic (food for good bacteria in the gut)
- Supplementation with digestive enzymes and probiotics – help in digestion and restore healthy gastrointestinal environment
Kindly get advice from your nearest physician and pharmacist for further details.
- Malaysian Dietitians’ Association