Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a very common minor health problem, faced by many people. This is caused due to the improper working of a valve-like opening, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a circular muscle band. This sphincter connects the esophagus and the stomach.
The stomach contains cells that secrete acid to digest the food, and to protect the stomach lining from these acids, there is a protective coating of the mucus cells. The esophagus, however, has very less protection from these acids as compared to the stomach.
What is Acid Reflux
In acid reflux, the acidic content that is formed in the stomach, due to some reason, refluxes back into the esophagus. The esophagus has the ability to withstand this acid to some extent; however, sometimes it causes too much irritation to the esophagus lining. The severity level of acid reflux is different for every person.
Some people show no symptoms, while some show very severe acid reflux symptoms. Acid reflux can cause damage to the esophagus lining; and hence, it is necessary to treat it soon. Though there is no cure for acid reflux, the symptoms can be reduced with medication and by avoiding certain types of foods.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Women
One more symptom that women experience due to acid reflux is heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the acid in the stomach moves into the esophagus after consuming something. Heartburn is experienced in the chest, the lower abdomen or throat. Sometimes the pain is very severe. In spite of its name, heartburn doesn't affect your heart.
Some women may experience nausea as an acid reflux symptom. Not all women experience this symptom. Generally women who do not suffer from heartburn experience nausea.
When acid backs up in esophagus, it can reach the throat leading to a sore throat. This causes discomfort and pain in the throat and also voice hoarseness.
Some women may experience vomiting as a symptom of acid reflux. Especially the ones who experience nausea, vomit due to acid reflux. However, sometimes even women who do not experience nausea, may vomit due to acid reflux.
Difficulty in Swallowing
Some women may experience difficulty in swallowing because of acid refluxing in the throat.
During pregnancy, the size of the fetus grows gradually and thus, the expanding womb exerts pressure on the digestive organs. The pressure on the digestive organs, in turn, leads to pressure on LES. This pressure on the LES causes the food present in the stomach reflux to move into the esophagus and hence, causes acid reflux.
Some researches say that during pregnancy, the LES is more relaxed due to the changes in sexual hormones. Hence, this may also be a cause of acid reflux in women during pregnancy.
Each of the acid reflux symptoms in women can be treated with medication and natural remedies. However, most of these symptoms disappear after childbirth.