Report acid reflux problem to doctor

November 2, 2013 | By | Reply More

Nov 02, – Gastro esophageal reflux, also known as acid reflux, occurs when the stomach contents reflux back up into the food pipe (esophagus) and/or mouth, explains Dr Vijay Anand, Specialist Internal Medicine, Gastroentrology, Zulekha Hospital Dubai.

hromedia - Report acid reflux problem to doctorThis can occur normally also, majority episodes being brief without causing symptoms.

How does reflux happen?

Normally at the lower end of the esophagus there is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). After swallowing, the LES relaxes to allow food to enter the stomach and then contracts to prevent return of food and acid.

However, sometimes the LES is weak or becomes relaxed allowing reflux. This happens occasionally in all individuals mostly after meals, is brief, and does not cause symptoms.

In contrast, in gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), symptoms can include heartburn, regurgitation, vomiting and difficulty or pain with swallowing. The acid can also injure the vocal cords causing change of voice. If there are unusual symptoms, immediate medical care should be sought.

These may include

  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing (feeling that food gets ‘stuck’)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or dark-colored stools)

Diagnosis is usually based upon symptoms and the response to treatment. Specific testing is required when the diagnosis is unclear or if there are more serious signs or symptoms. This can include endoscopy (where a small tube is passed inside stomach) and Ph studies of esophagus etc.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes including weight loss if overweight, and elevating the head of your bed, stopping smoking, avoiding large and late meals.

Medicines include antacids, histamine antagonists and proton pump inhibitors. Surgery may be necessary in some cases.


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Category: Health and Fitness

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