We talked earlier about singer Virpi Kätkä, who heard in the spring that she had reflux disease. The symptom, which had lasted for more than half a year, and finally the disappearance of the singing voice, was explained by the diagnosis.

  • Read more: Serious illness took Virpi Kätkä's singing voice - ear doctor's examinations finally revealed the cause

In reflux disease, the contents of the stomach repeatedly rise back into the esophagus. According to the Health Library, the disease is common.

Symptoms may include:

  • Heartburn, manifested by an unpleasant, burning sensation behind the sternum

  • The bitter stomach contents rise into the mouth. At night, the acidic stomach contents can rise up to the pharynx. It may cause a feeling of a lump, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness in the sound.

  • Sometimes coughing or tooth enamel damage occurs.

Heartburn typically occurs especially after a hearty meal and lying down. Often fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, spirits and sour juices increase heartburn. Bowing and tightening clothing can also cause symptoms.

The most common co-morbidity in severe reflux disease is inflammation of the lower esophagus. In this case, the pain behind the upper abdomen or sternum may be more constant.

Being overweight increases reflux

Reflux disease is almost always caused by poor sphincter function in the lower esophagus. As a result, the acidic contents of the stomach reach the esophagus and often the pharynx.

The mucous membrane that covers the inner surface of the stomach is highly acid-resistant, but the esophageal mucosa is sensitive to it. Frequent “acid attacks” damage the mucous membranes and cause inflammatory changes.

Sphincter function is impaired by fatty foods and smoking. Being overweight clearly increases reflux and related symptoms.

Reduce your intake of high-fat and sour foods if you suffer from heartburn.

Photo: Colourbox

Take care of yourself this way

  • Avoid fair meals 2-3 hours before bedtime.

  • Also avoid stomach irritating foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes and coffee.

  • Reduce your intake of high-fat and high-fat foods, as well as other foods that impair esophageal sphincter function, such as chocolate, onions, and cola drinks.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Avoid heavy alcohol consumption as it irritates the stomach.

  • Treat transient heartburn without a prescription with medications available from your pharmacist.

  • Prefer clothes that do not tighten the stomach

  • Avoid the use of anti-reflux drugs (eg NSAIDs aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen) if possible

If you have symptoms at night, the head of the bed the increase may be of assistance. Moderate exercise can also relieve the symptoms of reflux.

Weight loss can both prevent and treat symptoms.

  • Read more: Clear Heartburn Without Medication - 5 Simple Instructions

When to see a doctor?

For reflux problems, it is wise to see a doctor if the condition has been treated with over-the-counter medications for a long time or if they do not help.

  • Read more: 17 causes of general abdominal problems and swelling, as well as symptoms that require a doctor's appointment immediately

You should see a doctor if heartburn occurs several times a week for long periods of time, symptoms begin for the first time when you are over 50 years old, and the symptoms are persistent, recurrent, or severe, or the pain radiates from the stomach to your back.

Bloody stools and other symptoms in addition to heartburn, such as pain in the abdomen or chest, difficulty swallowing and nausea, are also reasons to seek treatment. Likewise, if heartburn is associated with exertion.

If you experience sudden, marked pain in the lower part of the sternum, and the symptom is new, seek treatment immediately. Sometimes symptoms can be signs of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.

  • Read more: If such symptoms strike, you should call 112 immediately

Sources: Health Library, Patient Versions of Current Care