What is Acid reflux?
- Gastroesophageal reflux or Acid reflux occurs when the stomach contents flow back, upward into the esophagus and or mouth.
- Occasional reflux is normal in healthy adults. But when it causes discomfort, symptoms and damage to the esophagus as a result of acid reflux, it is called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What are the common symptoms of Acid reflux?
- Heartburn or burning sensation in the chest, sometimes more in the retrosternal region.
- Regurgitation, which means that the undigested food flow back into your throat or mouth.
- Stomach pain
- Discomfort in swallowing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sore throat
- Unexplained cough
GERD risk factors
Certain factors increase a person’s risk of developing GERD like;
- Hiatus hernia
- Lifestyle factors like Cigarette smoking, Coffee, Chocolates, Fatty food etc
How to get relief?
- Reduce weight (If overweight)
- Raise the head end of your bed by 6 – 8 inches
- Avoid foods which can aggravate your symptoms like coffee, chocolate, alcohol, fatty food, carbonated drinks
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker
- Avoid late meals – plan early dinner by 7pm
- Avoid NSAID’s
How is Acid reflux treated?
- Consult your medical specialist who will give you medicines for reducing the stomach acid
- Commonly used medicines are antacids, histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors
Is it a must to see a medical specialist?
- It is better to see a medical specialist to confirm the diagnosis of GERD.
- More importantly we should not miss a diagnosis of major problems like a malignancy, ulcer or a cardiac problem which also may present with similar complaints.
- Patients with alarm symptoms like weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia must be seen by a medical specialist
What are the complications of GERD?
- Erosive esophagitis
- Esophageal stricture
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Throat problems like laryngitis
- Dental problems – Dental erosions
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