When the valve between the stomach and the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, does not close properly. contents in the stomach flow back into the esophagus. It causes gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Burning sensation in the middle of chest
- An unpleasant sour taste
- Cough or hiccups that repeats
- A hoarse voice
- Bad breath
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Increased salivation
- Shortness of breath
- Sensation of a lump in throat
- New or worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
Primarily a disorder of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) but there are several factors that may contribute to its development:
- Reduced lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure,
- Hiatal hernias
- Impaired esophageal clearance
- Delayed gastric emptying
If an individual has symptoms like heartburn and/or acid regurgitation it is recommended to see a General Practitioner or Internal Medicine or Gastroenterology and Hepatology or General Surgery in near days.
Persons that have symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, trouble swallowing or internal bleeding in addition to heartburn and/or acid regurgitation need to see an Internal Medicine or Gastroenterology and Hepatology or General Surgery specialist as soon as possible.
When there are symptoms like heartburn and/or acid regurgitation, additional tests prior to starting treatment are typically unnecessary. If symptoms do not respond to treatment, or if other symptoms added additional testing may be necessary.
- Upper endoscopy or gastroscopy
- Biopsy of tissue
- pH testing
Sometimes dietary or lifestyle changes can be enough to disappear for symptoms:
- Avoiding coffee, citrus drinks, tomato-based products, chocolate, peppermint, fatty or spicy foods, eating within three hours of bedtime, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, excess weight gain
- Medication for lowering acid levels.
- If needed surgery can help some patients.
Is GERD a lifelong disease?
Once it begins, it usually is life-long.
How do you stop a GERD attack?
- Eat sparingly and slowly
- Avoid certain foods.
- Do not drink carbonated beverages.
- Stay up after eating.
- Do not move too fast.
- Lose weight if it is advised.
- If you smoke, quit.
How can I get rid of acid reflux permanently?
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Elevate the head of your bed.
- Do not lie down after a meal.
- Eat food slowly and chew thoroughly.
- Avoid foods and drinks that trigger reflux.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
Can chronic heartburn be harmful?
Also known as acid reflux, can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Persistent exposure to stomach acids can inflame and damage the lining of the esophagus. It also can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, characterized by pre-cancerous lesions in the esophageal lining.