Acid reflux: Causes, treatment, and symptoms

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a little commission. here ’ s our process. Acid reflux is a park condition that features a combustion pain, known as heartburn, in the lower chest area. It happens when digest acidic flows back up into the food pipe.

Gastroesophageal ebb disease ( GERD ) is diagnosed when acidic reflux occurs more than twice a week. demand figures vary, but diseases resulting from acid reflux are the most coarse gut complaint seen by hospital departments in the United States. The american College of Gastroenterology says that over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a calendar month, and at least 15 million ampere often as daily. GERD is most common in western countries, affecting an estimated 20 to 30 percentage of the population. chronic heartburn can lead to serious complications .


a persons diet can increase their risk of acid reflux plowshare on PinterestA person’s diet can increase their risk of acid reflux. Acid reflux is when some of the acid content of the digest flows up into the esophagus, into the esophagus, which moves food down from the sass. Despite the name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, a firm acerb that helps break down food and protect against pathogens such as bacteria. The lining of the digest is specially adapted to protect it from the herculean acid, but the esophagus is not protected. A resound of brawn, the gastroesophageal sphincter, normally acts as a valve that lets food into the abdomen but not back up into the esophagus. When this valve fails, and stomach contents are regurgitated into the esophagus, the symptoms of acid reflux are felt, such as heartburn.

Risk factors

GERD affects people of all ages, sometimes for unknown reasons. Often, it is ascribable to a life style agent, but it can besides be due to causes that can not constantly be prevented. One cause that is not preventable is a hiatal ( or foramen ) hernia. A hole in the diaphragm allows the upper separate of the digest to enter the chest cavity, sometimes leading to GERD. other risk factors are more easily controlled :

  • obesity
  • smoking (active or passive)
  • low levels of physical exercise
  • medications, including drugs for asthma, calcium-channel blockers, antihistamines, painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants

pregnancy can besides cause acerb reflux due to excess imperativeness being placed on the internal organs. food and dietary habits that have been linked to acid ebb include :

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • a high intake of table salt
  • a diet low in dietary fiber
  • eating large meals
  • lying down within 2 to 3 hours of eating a meal
  • consuming chocolate, carbonated drinks, and acidic juices

A holocene study suggests that dietary choices may be adenine effective as using proton pump inhibitors ( PPIs ) in treating acidic ebb .


  • PPIs, including omeprazole, rabeprazole, and esomeprazole
  • H2 blockers, including cimetidine and famotidine
  • Over-the-counter treatments, such as antacids, which are available to buy online
  • Alginate drugs, including Gaviscon

The independent discussion options for people who repeatedly experience acid reflux in GERD are either PPIs or H2 blockers, both of which are medications. PPIs and H2 blockers decrease acid production and reduce the likely for wrong caused by acerb ebb. These medications are by and large safe and effective, but like any prescription drug drug, they are not appropriate for all people with reflux disease and can cause slope effects. For example, they can cause problems absorbing nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition .

OTC remedies for acid reflux

For people who experience heartburn or indigestion infrequently, possibly in association with periodic food and drink triggers, OTC treatments to reduce the acidity of the digest contents are available. These liquid and tablet formulations are called antacids, and there are dozens of brands available, all with like effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, and any indigence for even use should be discussed with a doctor. Antacids provide rapid but short-run easing by reducing the sourness of the stomach contents. They contain chemical compounds such as calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, aluminum, and magnesium hydroxide. They can besides inhibit nutrient preoccupation, leading to deficiencies over clock time.

Alginate drugs such as Gaviscon

Gaviscon is credibly the best-known heartburn therapy. It has a different mode of action than antacid drugs. Alginate drugs such as Gaviscon vary slightly in composition, but they normally contain an antacid. The alginic acidic works by creating a mechanical barrier against the digest acidic, forming a bubbling gel that sits at the top of the gastric pool itself. Any reflux is then relatively harmless as it consists of alginic acid and not damaging stomach acid. The active ingredient—alginate—is found naturally in brown alga. If you want to buy Gaviscon, then there is an excellent selection available on-line .

Other options

other possible discussion methods include :

  • Sucralfate acid suppressants
  • Potassium-competitive acid blockers
  • Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLESR) reducers
  • GABA(B) receptor agonist
  • mGluR5 antagonist
  • Prokinetic agents
  • Pain modulators
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Theophylline, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor

If GERD is severe and unresponsive to aesculapian treatment, a surgical interposition known as fundoplication may be needed .


life style measures that may help include :

  • improving posture, for instance, sitting up straighter
  • wearing loose clothing
  • losing weight if overweight or obese
  • avoiding increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-up exercises
  • stopping smoking


partake on PinterestAcid reflux can cause a burning pain in the lower chest. Acid reflux normally produces heartburn, whether it is due to a single episode of overeating or persistent GERD. Heartburn is an uncomfortable burn sensation that occurs in the esophagus and is felt behind the sternum area. It tends to get worse when lying down or bending over. It can last for several hours and much worsens after eating food. The trouble of heartburn may move up toward the neck and throat. Stomach fluid can reach the rear of the throat in some cases, producing a acerb or sour taste. If heartburn occurs two or more times a workweek, it is known as GERD for short. other symptoms of GERD include :

  • dry, persistent cough
  • wheezing
  • asthma and recurrent pneumonia
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • throat problems, such as soreness, hoarseness, or laryngitis (voice box inflammation)
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • chest or upper abdominal pain
  • dental erosion
  • bad breath

Risks and complications

Without discussion, GERD can lead to serious complications in the farseeing term, including an increased risk of cancer. persistent exposure to stomach acidic can damage the esophagus, leading to :

  • Esophagitis: the lining of the esophagus is inflamed, causing irritation, bleeding, and ulceration in some cases
  • Strictures: damage caused by stomach acid leads to scar development and difficulties swallowing, with food getting stuck as it travels down the esophagus
  • Barrett’s esophagus: a serious complication where repeated exposure to stomach acid causes changes in the cells and tissues lining the esophagus with potential to develop into cancer cells

Both esophagitis and Barrett ’ mho esophagus are associated with a higher risk of cancer.

During pregnancy

In the U.S., 30 to 50 percentage of women experience heartburn during pregnancy, even if they did not have it before. life style modifications are recommended during pregnancy, such as not eating excessively late at night and consuming small meals. Any woman who is experiencing severe ebb during pregnancy should speak to her doctor about treatment options.


Acid reflux and heartburn are common and relatively easy to diagnose, however, they can be confused with other breast complaints such as :

  • heart attack
  • pneumonia
  • chest wall pain
  • pulmonary embolus

GERD is frequently diagnosed merely by finding no improvement in heartburn symptoms in response to lifestyle changes and acid reflux medication.

Gastroenterologists may besides arrange the take after investigations :

  • endoscopy: camera imaging
  • biopsy: taking a tissue sample for laboratory analysis
  • barium X-ray: imaging the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum after swallowing a chalky liquid that helps provide contrast on images
  • esophageal manometry: pressure measurement of the esophagus
  • impedance monitoring: measuring rate of fluid movement along the esophagus
  • pH monitoring: acidity testing

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Category : Health

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