Acid reflux is a painful, fiery sensation within either the chest or throat. It occurs when stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Acid reflux is a health problem that is incredibly typical, affecting as much as 50 per cent of the population. Other terms employed for this condition are Gastroesophageal Reflux Condition (GORD) or ulcer disease that is peptic
What is Acid Reflux
The oesophageal sphincter is a real protection valve. Normally this valve prevents the stomach contents into the oesophagus rise. The oesophageal sphincter of those with gastroesophageal reflux opens abnormally and allows stomach juices to move up into the oesophagus. Sometimes stomach contents reach the mouth.
- From birth to old age
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that can occur from the first weeks of life until a very advanced age.
- Normal functioning of the oesophagus
When there are no problems, the oesophagus opens only to allow the passage of food into the stomach.
- Acid refluxes
The oesophagus of people with gastroesophageal reflux opens abnormally and allows stomach contents rise up into the oesophagus. Sometimes stomach contents will reach the mouth.
- Dysfunction in the lower oesophagus
Gastroesophageal reflux is the result of a dysfunction in the lower oesophageal sphincter (lower oesophagus).
- Presence of a hiatal hernia
The anatomical structure that connects the stomach to the oesophagus can prevent backflow.
However, a hiatal hernia (anomaly in which the upper part of the stomach rises into the chest through a hole in the diaphragm) may modify this anatomical structure. This modification results in development of GERD.
Gastroesophageal reflux can be caused by the combination of these two mechanisms: a dysfunction of the lower oesophagus associated with a hiatal hernia.
Symptoms of heartburn
- Heartburn : This appears while the person is lying. This sensation below the breastbone and becomes more intense after eating.
- Heartburn: epigastric burning occurs when gastric juices from the stomach into the oesophagus amount.
- Sensation of a foreign body or something stuck in the throat.
- Difficulty swallowing food.
- Dry cough or wheezing, usually overnight. These symptoms are similar to those experienced by asthmatics.
- Like a pain angina.
However, acid reflux can be complicated by oesophagitis (inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus).
A severe case of oesophagitis can lead to:
- The appearance of an ulcer in the oesophagus.
- A constriction of the lower oesophagus.
- Gastro-intestinal bleeding.
- Oesophageal cancer (less common).
- medical evaluation
The medical evaluation should be performed when symptoms develop moderately, without complications or signs of gravity.
Usually, it is possible to relieve symptoms if the patient meets certain hygiene and dietary recommendations and if you take some medicines for a short period.
You need to consult a doctor if symptoms worsen or if other serious signs appear.
The additional tests are not necessary in patients younger than 50 years who have moderate symptoms (uncomplicated without aggravating factors). However, it is recommended that patients consult a doctor.
Patients over 50 years with recent symptoms should undergo a medical evaluation. Usually, this evaluation involves making a fibroscopia.
- Pain when swallowing.
- Slurred speech.
- A dry and recurrent cough that causes extreme fatigue.
- Severe stomach pain accompanied by vomiting.
- Weight loss.
- Coughing up blood.
- Blood in the stool.
Preventing acid reflux
After dinner, wait 1 hour before bedtime or performing any activity that requires great physical effort.
Avoid some positions
Avoid tilting the chest down. Avoid tight-fitting clothing or belts at the level of the abdomen. It is important to keep high the upper body while sleeping. To achieve this you can place a brick under each leg of the headboard.
Avoid foods that can cause reflux
Avoid foods that favour the appearance of a burning or heartburn. Various foods and beverages account risk factors for GORD.
Chocolate and milk also causes the muscles of the sphincter to relax. Fat, protein and calcium content in milk stimulate further acidity gastric.
Foods that are high in fat
These foods increase the secretion of acid stomach. These foods are: butter, cheese, sausages, sauces, cakes.
The acidity of citrus (orange, lemon, and grapefruit) increases the acidity of gastric juice.
The mint promotes relaxation of the sphincter muscle. For this reason, it is another cause of GORD.
Onion irritates the lining of the oesophagus which increases heartburn.
The spices irritate the lining of the oesophagus.
Some drinks may increase gastroesophageal reflux.
Avoid fizzy drinks as they increase the risk of gastroesophageal reflux to cause flatulence.
Wine, beer and beverages have high content of alcohol contribute to the relaxation of the sphincter muscle which increases the risk of GERD.
This risk is even greater when these drinks are consumed on an empty stomach or on an empty stomach.
It is recommendable to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
Coffee and tea:
These drinks relax the sphincter muscle which causes the appearance of reflux symptoms (heartburn or heartburn) and irritation of the lining of the oesophagus.
Moderate your daily food
It is better to eat moderately several times a day instead of eating too much at night.
Control your weight
Being overweight can increase the risk of heartburn.
Manage stress and practice a sport
Managing stress and playing sports are two essential measures to prevent the occurrence of heartburn.
Prescription medication for acid reflux
Histamine-2, called H2 Blockers
H2 blockers can generally alleviate heartburn and treat reflux, especially if you’ve never had treatment before. These drugs are especially helpful at alleviating heartburn, but may not be as good for managing oesophagitis (inflammation that occurs within the oesophagus) this is the total outcome of GORD.
Histamine arouses acid production, particularly once a meal has been eaten, therefore H2 blockers are most effective when used thirty minutes before meals. They’re able to also be had just before bed to subdue the manufacturing of acid at night.
Samples of H2 blockers available through prescription:
- Nizatidine (Axid)
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
Negative effects range from headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, gasoline, sore neck, runny nose, and dizziness.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
With regards to the way to settle your heartburn or reflux, your GP can recommend drugs that block acid manufacturing more effectively, as well as for a longer period of time than the H2 blockers. In particular, this refers to the group of medications GP’s call proton pump inhibitors. PPIs are best taken a full hour before dishes. They consist of:
- Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
These medications will also be advantageous to protecting the oesophagus from acid in order that the oesophageal inflammation can heal.
Unwanted effects include frustration, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, bloating, constipation, nausea, and excess gases.
Promotility agents work by stimulating the muscle tissue associated with the tract that is gastrointestinal. This might also help alleviate problems with acids from remaining in the stomach a long time, and strengthening the low oesophagus sphincter, reducing reflux in to the oesophagus. Reglan is a promotility agent occasionally utilised to deal with heartburn related to GORD. The side effects of Reglan could be severe, alongside drowsiness, exhaustion, diarrhea, restlessness, and motion problems.
Over the counter acid reflux treatments
Antacids for acid reflux
Antacids neutralise acids to aid alleviate indigestion, heartburn, sore belly and an upset stomach. Other antacids additionally comprise simethicone, an ingredient that aids in removing stomach gases. Some antacids have things that can cause diarrhea, for instance magnesium, or constipation, like aluminium.
- Alternagel, Amphojel
- Milk of Magnesia
- Gaviscon, Gelusil, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids
You need to take antacids precisely as told by the medical practitioner, or as is outlined on the label. Prior to swallowing for quicker relief if you use the pills, chew.
Major side effects may appear with an overuse or overdose of antacids. These consist of constipation, diarrhea, alterations in along with of bowel motions, and belly cramps.
There are two main kinds of medications that help lessen the manufacturing of acid within the stomach: histamine antagonists (H2 antagonists or blockers) which are H2 and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors).
Examples of H2 blockers available over the counter include:
- Ranitidine (Zantac 75)
- Famotidine (Pepcid AC)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
- Nizatidine (Axid AR)
If these medicines don’t alleviate your symptoms, or in the event your heartburn symptoms get worse or continue for longer than fourteen days, you ought to see your doctor.
Combination Antacid/Acid Reducer for Heartburn <h3>
Pepcid Complete delivers the capacity that is acid-neutralizing of antacid and additionally the acid-reduction methods of an H2 blocker and Zegerid OTC is a combination of a PPI with salt bicarbonate.
Please refer to the articles below to find out more information, medical guidance and advice from our doctors on how to best treat the condition.
Learn about available treatments, symptoms, side effects and what you can do to prevent it.