Acid Reflux: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diet and Diagnosis

Acid reflux causes burning pain in the lower chest area. It happens when the stomach’s contents flow back into the food pipe. If you experience acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Key Facts on Acid Reflux

Some key facts about acid reflux include:

  • Acid reflux, otherwise known as pyrosis, heartburn, or acid indigestion
  • It happens often after eating
  • Smoking and obesity may cause acid reflux
  • Drug treatments are the most used therapy to treat acid reflux

What Are the Causes of Acid Reflux?

Factors that can cause acid reflux include:

  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Taking blood pressure medications and medications that contain aspirin
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Food and dietary habits that can cause acid reflux include:

  • Drinking beverages such as tea, coffee, acidic juices, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
  • Lying down right after eating
  • Eating fatty or fried foods, large meals or late at night
  • Eating chocolates
  • A diet that is low in dietary fiber
  • High intake of table salt

What Are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?

People with acid reflux may experience symptoms such as:

  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Regurgitation
  • Burping
  • Bloody vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Upper abdominal or chest pain
  • Asthma and recurrent pneumonia
  • Bad breath
  • Dental erosion

How Is Acid Reflux Diagnosed?

You should visit your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn, more than two times a week. Your doctor will perform any of these tests to diagnose your problem.

Endoscopy

This test is performed to check problems in your stomach or esophagus. Your doctor will insert a thin tube equipped with an endoscope into your esophagus.

Biopsy

Your doctor will take your tissue sample to check for any abnormalities or infections.

Barium X-ray

You are asked to swallow a solution that helps show images of your esophagus, upper duodenum, and stomach on an X-ray.

Esophageal Manometry

This test is performed to measure the force and coordination exerted by your esophagus muscles and rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus.

Impedance Monitoring

This test helps measure the rate of fluid movement along the esophagus.

pH Monitoring

This test is required to measure the acid levels inside your esophagus and monitor the symptoms during sleep, meals, and other activities.

Treatments for Acid Reflux

Your doctor will first recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms, which may include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid lying down after eating
  • Avoid fatty and fried foods
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes
  • Eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid acidic and alcoholic beverages
  • Lose excess weight
  • Eat smaller meals

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend:

  • Over-the-counter medications such as antacids
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • H2 blockers
  • Alginate drugs
  • Foaming agents
  • Prokinetics
  • Pain modulators
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLESR) reducers
  • Sucralfate acid suppressants

Your doctor may recommend fundoplication surgery if your symptoms are severe and do not respond to lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.

Related Article: What is the LINX Reflux Management System?

What Are the Complications of Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux may cause serious complications if not treated on time, which may include:

  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Esophageal stricture
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esophagitis

If you have acid reflux symptoms, call us today or visit our facility, the best surgery center of Anchorage, to receive high-quality treatment at an affordable cost.

 

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Dr. Madhu Prasad, M.D., FACS

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients.

General Surgeon Anchorage AK

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