Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms, Causes, Tests, And Treatments

Get the basics about acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD. If medications don’t reduce a person’s acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES. Not all heartburn requires medical care. Infrequent and mild heartburn can be treated with antacids and lifestyle changes, like avoiding spicy foods. Occasional reflux is not a cause for concern. You should consult a doctor if you have heartburn two or more times a week or if over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your discomfort.

Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms (foreign body, malignancy ). They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms. In fact, reflux of the stomach’s liquid contents into the esophagus occurs in most normal individuals. One study found that reflux occurs as frequently in normal individuals as in patients with GERD. In patients with GERD, however, the refluxed liquid contains acid more often, and the acid remains in the esophagus longer. It has also been found that liquid refluxes to a higher level in the esophagus in patients with GERD than normal individuals.

There are several possible results of endoscopy and each requires a different approach to treatment. If the esophagus is normal and no other diseases are found, the goal of treatment simply is to relieve symptoms. Therefore, prescription strength H2 antagonists or PPIs are appropriate. If damage to the esophagus (esophagitis or ulceration) is found, the goal of treatment is healing the damage. In this case, PPIs are preferred over H2 antagonists because they are more effective for healing. Lastly, pH testing can be used to evaluate patients prior to endoscopic or surgical treatment for GERD. As discussed above, some 20% of patients will have a decrease in their symptoms even though they don’t have GERD (the placebo effect). Prior to endoscopic or surgical treatment, it is important to identify these patients because they are not likely to benefit from the treatments. The pH study can be used to identify these patients because they will have normal amounts of acid reflux.

Silent Reflux (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux) Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) is similar to GERD but with varying symptoms. Read more about this digestive disorder. Summary: Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you suffer from heartburn, limiting your alcohol intake might help ease some of your pain. If refluxed find out more liquid gets past the upper esophageal sphincter, it can enter the throat (pharynx) and even the voice box (larynx). The resulting inflammation can lead to a sore throat and hoarseness As with coughing and asthma, it is not clear just how commonly GERD is responsible for otherwise unexplained inflammation of the throat and larynx.

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