What is Acid Reflux?

All of us will have a valve at the entrance of the stomach which is a muscle ring called as Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). Generally, LES closes immediately after food passes through it. If it does not close or opened often, acid is produced by your stomach. As LES is not properly closed, the acid produced can move up into the esophagus leading to a symptom of burning chest pain normally called as ‘Heartburn’. If these symptoms are seen more often i.e., twice in a week then it is confirmed that you are suffering from ‘Acid Reflux disease’, which is also named as ‘Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease’ and abbreviated as ‘GERD’.

General Causes for Acid Reflux or GERD

  • Obese or overweight.

  • Eating a large meal and resting down immediately after a meal.

  • Eating snacks close to bed time.

  • Eating certain food items like tomato, garlic, mint, onion, citrus or certain types of spicy or fatty food items.

  • Having beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol, and any other carbonated drinks frequently.

  • Smoking.

  • Taking certain medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin, BP medications and muscle relaxers etc.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease

  • Bloating, burping and blood vomiting.

  • Nausea, long hiccups, weight loss without any reason.

  • Dysphagia – In this symptom, your esophagus gets narrowed creating a sensation of food stuck in your throat.

  • A chronic sore throat, dry cough, wheezing and hoarseness.

Diagnosis of Acid Reflux Disease

In general, GERD causes due to improper lifestyle. Symptoms are the key factors to diagnose this disease. If it is not in severe stage and is confirmed through symptoms that it is due to change in lifestyle then it is easily diagnosed by antacids and acid-blocking medicines. Even after having these medicines, if you are subjected to severe symptoms then consult a doctor for a check-up. These are some basic tests suggested by the doctor to detect the deep cause and diagnose this disease.

  • Endoscopy – To check for problems with your esophagus or stomach.

  • Biopsy – To check a sample tissue taken from your esophagus whether infected or having any abnormality.

  • pH Monitoring – This test will help to check the acid level in your esophagus.

  • Esophageal Manometry – This test is for checking the function of the esophagus and lower sphincter of the esophagus.

  • Esophagram – Helps to detect ulcers or narrowing of the esophagus.

Based on the severity of the disease, it can be treated using medications and surgeries. Most often, it can be easily treated by taking antacids and following proper diet along with little changes made in lifestyle.

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Tamil Nadu, India.

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