Causes, Treatment, And Symptoms

Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux). The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, a strong acid that helps break down food and protect against pathogens such as bacteria. Heartburn is a burning pain in the center of the chest, behind the breastbone. It often starts in the upper abdomen and spreads up into the neck or throat. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid after a meal to aid in the digestion of food. There are a variety of over-the-counter (for example, antacids and foam barriers) and prescription medications (for example, proton pump inhibitors, histamine antagonists, and promotility drugs) for treating GERD.

Avoiding foods and beverages that can weaken the LES is often recommended. These foods include chocolate , peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Foods and beverages that can irritate a damaged esophageal lining, such as citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and pepper, should also be avoided if they cause symptoms. Esophageal acid testing is considered a “gold standard” for diagnosing GERD. As discussed previously, the reflux of acid is common in the general population. However, patients with the symptoms or complications of GERD have reflux of more acid than individuals without the symptoms or complications of GERD. Moreover, normal individuals and patients with GERD can be distinguished moderately well from each other by the amount of time that the esophagus contains acid.

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the function of the lower esophageal sphincter and the motor function of the esophagus. A tube is passed down your throat until it reaches the esophagus. It is often performed along with 24-hour pH probe study. Treatment of acid reflux includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications including antacids and her explanation H2-blockers; prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors, coating agents, and promotility agents; and in severe cases, surgery. Although antacids can neutralize acid, they do so for only a short period of time. For substantial neutralization of acid throughout the day, antacids would need to be given frequently, at least every hour.

Your doctor usually can diagnose reflux disease by the symptoms you report. These medications are generally safe and effective, but like any prescription drug, they are not appropriate for all people with reflux disease and can cause side effects. GERD or acid reflux symptoms are caused by the regurgitation of acidic liquid stomach contents back up into the esophagus. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn. Any reflux is then relatively harmless as it consists of alginic acid and not damaging stomach acid.

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