Most people have experienced that uniquely horrible burning sensation known as acid reflux after finishing a rather delicious meal. While the food is, in my opinion, usually worth the burn, acid reflux is no joke. In fact, over time it can cause damage to the esophagus. Between potentially long-lasting medical problems, and the daunting list of things acid reflux actually feels like, it's no wonder people avoid deliciously spicy food altogether. Which is a damn shame, if you ask me.
According to The Mayo Clinic, acid reflux is "the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach — where you may taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of your mouth or feel a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn)." And, according to Healthline, "During pregnancy hormone changes can allow the muscles in the esophagus, including the LES, to relax more frequently," which is why pregnant women can experience acid reflux at higher rates. Lucky us, right ladies?
Aside from the occasional bout here and there, I didn't really experience much acid reflux until my first pregnancy. But when I was pregnant with my second, oh holy hell. It was all hands on deck. The seemingly never-ending stream of dragon fire creeping up the back of my throat kept me up at night, distracted during the day, and with a horrible taste of food in my mouth.
Thankfully, I don't get reflux nearly as often as I did when I was pregnant. Every now and then, though, I still get a reminder of that excruciating pain. It's like a cruel form of birth control. Just kidding. Kind of. So, with that in mind, if you're staring pregnancy in the face and wondering what's in store for you, here's what acid reflux actually feels like:
A Trash Fire In Your Throat
What makes acid reflux particularly fun is feeling like there's an actual fire in your throat. As in, someone threw a gallon of gasoline down the chute and set it on fire. The acid — aptly named — is hot, uncomfortable, and doesn't always subside after a few gulps of water. Add to this a little pool of vomit that settles somewhere between your stomach and your teeth and, well, you have yourself a damn party.
Fireworks In Your Stomach
It always starts in the stomach, right? It's like a slight sizzle that manifests into a full-out burn. The fireworks go off, shooting through the chest, up the esophagus, and into the mouth, where you'll inevitably taste the bitter, sour pool of acid that makes you question every life decision you've ever made.
I always felt it coming on, but by the time the fireworks began it was too late to stop the acid train. There's plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications that could've provided me with some relief, but I always assumed this thing would just stop on its own. It didn't.
The Sound Drano Makes In The Sink
You know that distinct sound Drano makes when it goes down a clogged sink or toilet? It's like a whir, then a whiz, and finally a sizzle as it eats away the culprit and beings disintegrating the ball of whatever disgusting thing has been clogging your drain?
Well, acid reflux feels like those noises. It's like if that insidious hissing was a feeling and not a sound.
A Hot Tub That's Way Too Hot
Why is acid reflux so... hot? I'm sure it has something to do with that "super special" mixture of bile in your stomach. It churns and spins like a tornado, heating up everything in its path, and before you know it your mouth has turned into a disgusting warm hot tub.
If it's not the sour taste that gets you, the spicy heat will.
A Bitter Shot Of Espresso You Can't Seem To Swallow
I can't stand bitter coffee. If I accidentally over-express the shot I put in my daily latte, I remake my cup of coffee. But with acid reflux, and the heartburn that rides along with it, I can't just "re-do" the inner-workings of my body. There's no escaping it. The bitter taste will coat my tastebuds in a film that literally ruins everything I taste, or want to taste, for the rest of the day. Ugh.
Sour Patch Kids Melting On Your Tongue
I hate sour candies with a passion. That's why acid reflux was particularly miserable for me. It was like dumping an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids in my mouth and just holding them there for what felt like forever. No thank you.
A Lingering "Tickle" That Triggers Non-Stop Coughing
Acid reflux isn't only a burning bitterness. It's also a tightness in the chest and that annoying tickle in the back of your throat that makes you feel like you need to cough. Basically, acid reflux ruins everything. It can upset your stomach, destroy the once-delicious taste of the food you've eaten, burn your lungs and chest, eat at your throat, sour your mouth, and kill any feeling of joy you've had.
OK, that might be a tad dramatic, but you get the idea. Acid reflux is the worst.
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