Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. This can cause heartburn and other signs and symptoms. Frequent or constant reflux can lead to GERD.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.
If the sphincter does not relax as it should or it weakens, stomach acid can flow back into your esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, often causing it to become inflamed.
At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. If the LES doesn't close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest discomfort called heartburn. If acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.
It's time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications don't bring lasting relief. Symptoms such as heartburn are the key to the diagnosis of acid reflux disease, especially if lifestyle changes, antacids, or acid-blocking medications help reduce these symptoms.
Antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Riopan, can neutralize the acid from your stomach. But they may cause diarrhea or constipation, especially if you overuse them. It's best to use antacids that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide. When combined, they may help counteract these gastrointestinal side effects.
If medications don't completely resolve your symptoms of acid reflux disease and the symptoms are severely interfering with your life, your doctor could recommend surgery. There are two types of surgical treatment used to relieve symptoms of GERD if daily use of medication isn't effective.
The most recently approved procedure involves surgically placing a ring known as a LINX device around the outside of the lower end of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The ring consists of magnetic titanium beads held together by titanium wires. The device helps reflux by preventing stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. In one study, patients were able to stop taking medicine or cut down the amount they took. You shouldn't get the LINX device if you're allergic to certain metals, and once you have a LINX device you shouldn't get any type of MRI test.
Another surgical procedure called a fundoplication can help prevent further acid reflux. It creates an artificial valve using the top of your stomach. The procedure involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it, prevent acid reflux, and repair a hiatal hernia. Surgeons perform this procedure through either an open incision in the abdomen or chest or with a lighted tube inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when your stomach contents come back up into your esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more severe and long-lasting condition in which GER causes repeated symptoms or leads to complications over time.
People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.
When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.
If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of GER. Doctors will diagnose GERD when acid reflux becomes a recurrent complaint about an individual, usually more than twice a week for several weeks at a time.
The main treatment options for people who repeatedly experience acid reflux in GERD are PPIs or H2 blockers. These medications decrease acid production and reduce the potential for damage caused by acid reflux.
They 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. For instance, they can cause problems absorbing nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition.
For people who experience heartburn or indigestion infrequently, perhaps in association with occasional food and drink triggers, OTC treatments to reduce the acidity of the stomach contents are available.
These liquid and tablet formulations are called antacids, and there are dozens of brands available, all with similar effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, and any need for regular use should be discussed with a doctor.
They usually contain chemical compounds such as calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, aluminum, and magnesium hydroxide. These compounds provide rapid but short-term relief by reducing the acidity of the stomach contents. However, they can also inhibit nutrient absorption, leading to deficiencies over time. Common brands of antacids include TUMS, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer.
The alginic acid works by creating a mechanical barrier against the stomach acid, forming a foamy gel that sits at the top of the gastric pool itself. Any reflux then becomes relatively harmless as it consists of alginic acid instead of the damaging stomach acid.
When a person has acid reflux, their stomach content is rising back up into their esophagus. This causes heartburn, which is the burning sensation a person feels from the acid that comes up from the stomach. People who get acid reflux frequently may have GERD.
A variety of treatments are available for acid reflux and GERD. There are over-the-counter antacids a person can buy, though in more severe cases prescription medications are available. Lifestyle modifications such as eating a healthful diet, exercising, and sleeping in an elevated position may help relieve symptoms.
As many as 45% of women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause acid reflux due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the gastroesophageal sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the muscles in your esophagus to relax more frequently. A growing fetus can also place pressure on your stomach. This can increase the risk of stomach acid entering your esophagus.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or chronic acid reflux) is a condition in which acid-containing contents in your stomach persistently leak back up into your esophagus, the tube from your throat to your stomach.
Acid reflux happens to nearly everyone at some point in life. Having acid reflux and heartburn now and then is totally normal. But, if you have acid reflux/heartburn more than twice a week over a period of several weeks, constantly take heartburn medications and antacids yet your symptoms keep returning, you may have developed GERD. Your GERD should be treated by your healthcare provider. Not just to relieve your symptoms, but because GERD can lead to more serious problems.
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux (not chronic) by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about managing your symptoms through diet and medications.
Getting a case of acid reflux (heartburn) once in a while isn't unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic acid reflux condition that's diagnosed by a doctor.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter (a muscular tube that lets food pass into the stomach and then cinches shut to block it from coming back up) protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.
"Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD," says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Foods fall somewhere along the pH scale (an indicator of acid levels). Those that have a low pH are acidic and more likely to cause reflux. Those with higher pH are alkaline and can help offset strong stomach acid. Alkaline foods include: 041b061a72