Know the basics

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat and the stomach) and moves up to the throat causing tissue irritation. Our stomach contains a strong acid called hydrochloric acid that helps with the efficient digestion of food and protects against undesirable microbes such as bacteria. At the entrance to your stomach is a valve that lets food go into the stomach but not back up into the esophagus. When this valve fails to work as normal, stomach contents are moved back into the esophagus causing acid reflux.

It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are common symptoms of acid reflux?

Common symptoms of acid reflux may include:

  • Burping;
  • Nausea after eating;
  • Stomach fullness or bloating;
  • Upper abdominal pain and discomfort.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What are the causes of acid reflux?

Acid reflux may occasionally happen sometimes in your life. It is seen in people of all ages, sometimes for unknown reasons. Normally, a lifestyle factor is responsible for the condition, but it can also be due to causes that cannot always be prevented. One of that causes is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This is an anatomical abnormality where a hole in the diaphragm allows the upper part of the stomach to enter the chest cavity, sometimes leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Know the risk factors

What are the risk factors?

There are several risk factors that can lead to this disease, including:

  • Lifestyle: use of alcohol or cigarettes, poor posture (slouching).
  • Using medications: calcium channel blockers, theophylline (Tedral, Hydrophed, Marax, Bronchial, Quibron), nitrates, antihistamines.
  • Diet: fatty and fried foods, chocolate, garlic and onions, coffee, acidic foods, spicy foods, etc.
  • Eating habits: eating large meals, eating quickly or close to bedtime.
  • Other medical conditions: obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, rapid weight gain.

 

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is acid reflux diagnosed?

There are several ways to diagnose acid reflux, such as:

  • The barium swallow radiograph: to rule out any structural problems in your esophagus.
  • Endoscopy or EGD: this lasts 20 minutes and does not make painful. With endoscopy, the doctor will insert a small tube with a camera through your mouth into the esophagus to check the lining of  the esophagus and stomach.
  • The biopsy depends on EGD result, the doctor will remove a small piece of the lining in the esophagus through the scope.
  • Esophageal manometry test assess your esophageal function and lasts 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Esophageal impedance monitoring measures the rate at which liquids and gasses pass through your esophagus.
  • pH monitoring records the acidity in your esophagus over a 24-hour period.

How is acid reflux treated?

Besides taking medicines that are proton-pump inhibitors, the most effective way to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid the foods and beverages that trigger symptoms.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage acid reflux?

Here are steps you can take:

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day;
  • Quit smoking;
  • Raise your bed pillow a little higher than normal;
  • Eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down;
  • Try sleeping in a chair for daytime naps;
  • Don’t wear tight clothes or tight belts;
  • If you’re overweight or obese, consider doing exercises or eating a balanced diet to lose weight.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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