Gastrointestinal tract

Constant regurgitation - causes and treatment

Constant regurgitation - causes and treatment


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Belching (“belching”) and feeling of fullness are normal “side effects” of the digestive process, with which every person has to struggle from time to time. Especially if the symptoms appear after a sumptuous meal, there is usually no need to worry.

However, if the regurgitation occurs over a longer period of time, this is often an indication of a digestive tract disorder or an overwhelming of the body with the existing eating habits. Accordingly, recurring and / or symptoms lasting longer than two days should always be examined by a doctor in order to be able to identify or rule out organic disorders. In the case of permanent regurgitation, it often helps to change lifestyle and eating habits. Various medications and effective home remedies can also be used.

Causes of constant regurgitation: reflux

The term “reflux” (from Latin “refluere” for “to flow back”) normally describes the backflow of gastric juice into the esophagus, which leads to heartburn and acid regurgitation. To some extent, this is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about. However, if the reflux occurs more often, this can damage the esophageal mucosa and cause severe discomfort. In medicine, this is referred to as "gastroesophageal reflux disease" (GERD), one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints, which is estimated to affect a quarter of the adult population in western industrialized countries.

Frequent acid regurgitation and / or burning pain behind the breastbone (heartburn) are the main complaints with the reflux disease. Most often these occur more when bending down or stooping down, heavy lifting or after eating lush, high-sugar, greasy or spicy food. Alcohol and nicotine are also often not well tolerated. Because gastric juice is easier to reach the esophagus when lying down, many sufferers struggle with strong symptoms, especially at night. In addition to belching and burning in the chest, more or less pronounced upper abdominal pain is typical, and nausea and vomiting, throat pain or hoarseness often occur.

There are different variants of the disease, but in most cases there is a so-called "non-erosive reflux disease" (NERD) without esophagitis. If inflammation (reflux esophagitis) arises from the reflux of the acidic gastric juice, this can be very serious. Scarring and swallowing are possible, as well as the development of esophageal cancer in an emergency.

The causes of reflux are many. Normally, gastric acid is prevented from flowing back into the esophagus by gravity alone. This also has a complex occlusion mechanism ("lower esophageal sphincter"), which ensures that no aggressive substances rise from the stomach. For many sufferers, however, this "reflux barrier" does not work properly, which can cause gastric juice to flow back and cause damage to the esophagus wall.

A weakness in the diaphragm (hiatal hernia) is usually responsible for the muscle weakness, as a result of which parts of the stomach get into the chest area and the seal between the esophagus and stomach is disturbed. Such a diaphragmatic hernia arises from the decrease in the elasticity of the connective tissue, to which, in addition to advanced age and disposition, obesity, pregnancy, chronic cough and increased pressure on the abdominal cavity can contribute to chronic constipation.

Decreased mobility of the esophagus can also be the reason for the symptoms. If the gastric juice gets back into the esophagus, it usually ensures through its own movement (peristalsis) that the caustic acid cannot cause damage to the mucous membrane. If the movement is reduced, this “cleaning” can no longer be carried out without problems, which damages the mucous membrane and causes the typical heartburn. A connection between gastroesophageal reflux disease and lifestyle is also established: Here, the frequent consumption of high-fat, sugary or spicy foods, regular smoking and drinking alcohol as well as heavy coffee consumption play an important role. Certain medications (e.g. beta-blockers or nitrates) and psychological stress or stress are further risk factors.

Inflammation of the stomach

Acute gastritis can also be considered as the cause of continual regurgitation. This is a relatively common inflammatory disease that is not contagious. It arises when the gastric mucosa is damaged or too much stomach acid is produced. As a result, the acid comes into direct contact with the gastric mucosa and causes inflammation. Gastritis can occur very suddenly (acute) and heal relatively quickly or take a gradual and chronic course. It is also possible that the acute form changes into a chronic illness.

Acute gastritis can have a variety of causes. For example, food poisoning is often present, too much alcohol, nicotine, coffee and spicy food can irritate the stomach lining and cause inflammation. Shock situations, severe physical or mental stress, overexertion, tension or inner restlessness can also "hit the stomach". Other possible causes include certain medications (cortisone, painkillers such as diclofenac, ibuprofen), infections, injuries, accidents (trauma), surgery or acid burns or the like. Symptoms of acute gastritis are sudden symptoms that often increase after eating. Above all, this includes massive upper abdominal pain, which can also radiate into the back. Likewise, loss of appetite, constant regurgitation, feeling of fullness, excessive pressure sensitivity of the stomach as well as nausea and vomiting often occur.

The chronic form of gastritis, on the other hand, usually causes no or only very slight symptoms for a long time. Those affected report e.g. from an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, diarrhea or increased flatulence. If the disease remains undetected, complications such as e.g. develop a gastric or duodenal ulcer, in rare cases even gastric cancer may develop. Various causes can also be considered for chronic gastritis. In most cases, however, it is triggered by an autoimmune reaction, bacteria (mostly Helicobacter pylori) or mucous membrane-damaging substances (refluxing bile juice, large amounts of alcohol, painkillers, acids, etc.). Accordingly, doctors differentiate between the three different types of gastritis of type A (“autoimmune”), type B (“bacterial”) and type C (“chemical”).

Constant belching during pregnancy: tips and effective home remedies

Constant belching is a very common phenomenon during pregnancy. Because the increased hormone progesterone ensures that the inner sphincter (esophageal sphincter) between the esophagus and stomach relaxes and therefore no longer seals completely. As a result, the stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus and lead to uncomfortable burning pain behind the breastbone (heartburn) and acid regurgitation - the symptoms mainly appear when lying down. These usually become even stronger in the last third of pregnancy, because the growing uterus exerts additional pressure from below and the stomach is pushed upwards. In addition to heartburn and constant regurgitation, this causes other symptoms such as Stomach cramps after eating, increased salivation and pressure in the stomach area possible. Flatulence, a feeling of fullness, frequent clearing of the throat and the so-called “lump in the throat” also often occur.

What can pregnant women do to make life a little “easier” with their bulging belly? It often helps if several small meals are eaten throughout the day instead of fewer large portions and greasy, spicy dishes are avoided.

Coffee also stimulates gastric juice production and irritates the stomach - but pregnant women should only enjoy it in moderation anyway. Instead, drinks with little or no carbon dioxide are recommended. In general, care should be taken to sleep with the upper part of the body high (with pillows, adjustable headboard) to make it difficult for the stomach acid to get into the esophagus.

Chewing hazelnuts, almonds or white bread can provide good first aid for acute regurgitation, and tea mixtures made from peppermint and chamomile have a calming and soothing effect. Other proven home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy are oatmeal or a glass of milk, because these foods help neutralize excess acid. Acid-inhibiting or binding drugs (antacids) such as However, like all other medicines, pantoprazole or meloxan should never be taken during pregnancy without consulting the treating gynecologist.

Constant belching treatment

Who e.g. Having to regurgitate every now and then after a sumptuous meal or after drinking alcoholic beverages doesn't need to worry. Because the occasional backflow of acidic gastric juice into the esophagus is quite normal. On the other hand, constant regurgitation or persistent burping for more than two days should always be taken seriously and examined by a doctor. Because e.g. If chronic reflux disease is left untreated for a long time, massive damage to the esophagus and, in an emergency, even esophageal cancer can occur.

If it is a "gastroesophageal reflux disease", the treatment depends on the severity. If there are no changes in the mucous membrane in the early stages, changing the diet and certain habits (smoking, alcohol consumption etc.) often helps. Diet plays a particularly important role in reflux. However, there are no generally applicable rules for "right" or "wrong", because those affected sometimes react very differently to certain foods. Accordingly, every reflux patient should monitor themselves carefully and critically to see what is good for them or not.

Nonetheless, there are some foods that are often not well tolerated in heartburn and constant regurgitation. This includes dishes that are prepared with a lot of fat or generally fatty foods (fatty meat and sausage products, mayonnaise, fast food etc.) as well as deep-fried and deep-fried foods. Foods that are high in sugar (e.g. cakes, desserts, lemonade, juices) also activate gastric acid production and often increase the symptoms. The same applies to hot spices (paprika, garlic, chilli, etc.), whereby the capsaicin contained also increases the sensitivity of the esophagus. If a change in lifestyle and eating habits is not enough or damage can already be identified, medication (e.g. omeprazole or H2 blockers such as ranitidine) is usually used. Surgical intervention is rarely necessary to fully restore the functionality of the esophageal occlusion.

Is e.g. an inflammation of the stomach is the reason for the permanent regurgitation, the therapy also depends on the type and cause of the disease. In the case of acute gastritis, e.g. usually already if the stomach is spared by a day or two of diet or light food and appropriate drinks such as water and mild, lukewarm tea. Coffee, juices, alcoholic and carbonated drinks should be avoided. The same applies to smoking, and physical protection is important so that the disease can heal completely. In some cases, medication (such as H2 receptor blockers or proton pump inhibitors) may also be useful to treat acute inflammation.

Home remedies and naturopathy against constant belching

If organic disorders are medically excluded, various home remedies can offer effective help for mild complaints. Basically, it is important to critically examine your own diet, lifestyle and existing "vice" when you regurgitate frequently. Who e.g. likes to eat fast food often, drinks a lot of alcohol, is a heavy smoker or nibbles sweets throughout the day, for example, has a greatly increased risk of reflux disease, which is very often the cause of constant regurgitation. Accordingly, obesity should be avoided and smoking and drinking alcohol restricted. There is also a change in diet (see treatment for constant regurgitation) and changes in certain habits such as hasty slings or very late meals very important to get the complaints under control.

Psychological stresses such as unresolved conflicts, stress, tension or pent-up anger can also, figuratively speaking, "hit our stomach" or "belch badly". Therefore, an urgent attempt should be made to integrate regular physical activity into everyday life in order to balance out the inner unrest and thereby increase well-being. In order to be able to cope better with pressure, stress and tension in general and not to lose the “inner balance” even in difficult everyday situations, special exercises and methods for reducing stress are available. These include, for example, yoga, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation.

From the field of herbal medicine, the “panacea” chamomile has proven itself in many cases for self-treatment for heartburn caused by reflux. This has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect on the over-irritated stomach and can also inhibit acid production. Alternative practitioners often recommend a so-called "roll cure". For this, the person concerned first drinks a cup of chamomile tea and then lies down on their back for about five minutes, then on the right side, the stomach, the left side and finally on the back again. This ensures that the valuable ingredients of the medicinal plant can act on the entire gastric mucosa. The roll cure should be done for at least a week in the morning on an empty stomach and in the evening just before sleeping.

Fennel, lemon balm and nettle can also be used as effective home remedies for constant belching. If stress plays a central role, valerian often helps. In the case of reflux, homeopathy also offers some valuable remedies for treatment. In addition to belching and possibly burning pain, Shivering, nausea and vomiting, Acidum sulfuricum (D6) can be helpful. Especially if the person shows a strong aversion to cold drinks and coffee. On the other hand, if the patient suffers from acid regurgitation, heartburn and stomach pressure, especially at night, Robinia pseudacacia (D6) can be considered. Nux vomica can also provide very good support in some cases. Therefore, the choice of the most suitable remedy should always be discussed with a naturopath or naturopathic doctor before taking it.

In addition to acupuncture, Schüssler salts are very suitable for a natural treatment of the symptoms. Salt # 9 (sodium phosphoricum) is particularly suitable for acid regurgitation. If there is a burning sensation in the esophagus at the same time, this can be taken alternating with salt number 2 (calcium phosphoricum). The exact potency, duration and frequency of intake should also be clarified with an expert in advance. (No)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch

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Video: What are the symptoms of acid reflux? (December 2022).