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Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux is a condition of the stomach in which the acids and fluids from the stomach start travellng back up the esophagus and may cause heartburn. The condition usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter is not working. In select cases, the LES might be working perfectly, but the pressure in the stomach might become a bit too much for the LES. Acid Reflux may be a common occurrence in the case of pregnancy, peptic ulcers, and asthma. People having large meals, bending forwards after eating a heavy meal or drinking too much alcohol may experience Acid Reflux.  

What are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?

The most common symptoms of an acid reflux are, as follows.

  • Regurgitation of the stomach fluids.
  • Heartburn and chest pain
  • Burping
  • Wheezing dry cough
  • Weight loss

If Acid Reflux is consistent, the following symptoms may be evident.  

  • Sore throat
  • Asthma due to the seeping up of the gastric juice into the throat, mouth or the air passage.
  • Dental deterioration.
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bloody stools

Your Physician Consultation   

The initial approach to diagnostic testing and treatment may vary among medical providers, depending upon the degree of your symptoms, the root cause and the possible presence of other conditions.  First, your physician will inquire about your symptoms and may suggest a change in your lifestyle and dietary habits.

If these activities do not result in the resolution of your symptoms, your physician may prescribe an acid blocking medication. Depending on the source of your reflux or heart burn, your physician may prescribe a H2 blocker medication (histamine) or a proton pump inhibitor (short term medication to heal esophageal inflammation). In select cases, Prokinetic medication, such as domperidone and metoclopramide may be employed. Your physician may order other tests to identify the source which may involve, but not be limited to:   

  • Barium swallow to identify ulcers.
  • Colonoscopy
  • Ph monitoring of the stomach and esophagus is done to measure the acidic tendencies of both areas.
  • Esophageal manometry.
  • Endoscopy may be performed to offer a physical examination of the food pipe and the stomach. The tube used in this procedure is inserted orally.
  • Biopsy might be performed to gather a tissue sample to check for infections due to acidity under a microscope.  

On rare occasions, surgical treatment may involve tightening the upper part of the “lower “sphincter of the esophagus to stop the leakage of the acid.

Long Term Acid Reflux Complications

If Acid Reflux is not controlled over the long haul, the condition has been linked to the following diseases.

  • Lung disease due to the constant contact of the acid, such as lung fibrosis (scarring) that limits oxygen.  
  • Inflammation of the vocal cords
  • Dry, sore throat and hoarseness.
  • Barrett’s esophagus might result due to the acidic environment inside the esophagus.
  • Esophageal cancer.

When treated promptly, Acid reflux may be successfully managed with a healthy lifestyle and possibly antacid medication.  

Next Visit,

Q and A for Your Doctor

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.