Acid Reflux Disease

Acid RefluxThe symptoms of acid reflux disease do not automatically qualify one for an acid reflux diagnosis. It is only when painful symptoms, such as heartburn and abdominal pain and bloating happen more than twice a week that an individual is said to have acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter is not functioning properly. This muscle usually closes after food has passed through it, but if it opens too often or doesn’t close all the way, the symptoms of this disease will manifest.

These symptoms may include heartburn; regurgitation, a sour, bitter tasting acid that backs up into the mouth or throat; bloating; bloody or black stools; burping; bloody vomit; dysphagia; persistent and frequent hiccups; nausea; sudden weight loss; wheezing; a dry cough; hoarseness; or chronic sore throat.

There are a wide variety of factors and acid reflux causes. One of the most common of the acid reflux causes is a hiatal hernia. These hernias occur when the upper part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm, which separates the stomach from the chest keeps acid in the stomach. When a hernia is present, the acid is able to move up into the esophogaus. Other common causes include eating large meals; lying down directly after a meal; being overweight; being obese; eating a heavy meal and lying on one’s back; snacking before bed; eating foods like citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, or onions in abundance; drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks, smoking; being pregnant; or taking certain medications. The cause should be known before one can cure acid reflux symptoms.

The consequences of acid reflux are diverse and may include the development of ulcers; strictures;  Barrett’s esophagus, a type of cancer; cough; asthma; an inflammation of the lungs, throat or larynx; and fluid build up in the sinuses and ears. However, with proper treatment, these consequences do not have to develop and a way to cure acid reflux symptoms can be found.

A cure for acid reflux pain may be found by avoiding food and drinks that trigger symptoms; eating smaller meals more frequently; quitting smoking;not eating two to three hours prior to lying down; not wearing tight clothing or belts; losing weight; exercise; and asking a doctor if certain medications are triggering symptoms. Over the counter medications, such as Alka-Seltzer, may also serve as a cure for acid reflux pain. If they are not, a doctor may prescribe foaming agents; H2 blockers; proton pump inhibitors; or prokinetics. As a last resort, surgery may be needed to stop the symptoms of acid reflux disease.

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    November 2014
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