A Complete Know-How about Acid Reflux – Causes, Symptoms and Acid Reflux Treatment
Acid reflux is categorized to be a chronic disease in which the acid or bile produced in the stomach flows upwards back into the food pipe or oesophagus and irritates the oesophageal lining. It is commonly referred to as heartburn or indigestion. It can lead to a severe condition called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) if the symptoms of acid reflux repeat more than twice a week. Acid reflux treatment if started at an initial stage can prevent GORD. How does acid reflux occur? The connection between the oesophagus and the stomach is protected by a valve called gastroesophageal sphincter. This is a ring of muscle that allows food to pass down to the stomach from the food pipe but prevents the backward flow. However, when this ring muscle is fails, the contents of the stomach are pushed into the oesophagus causing acid reflux. What causes acid reflux? The stomach produces hydrochloric acid for digestion and protection against bacteria. The stomach walls are resistant to the corrosive action of this strong acid, which corrodes the lining of the oesophagus if it encounters the oesophageal lining. This is the major reason causing acid reflux. Other risk factors Different lifestyle conditions that promote the chances of having acid reflux are –
Hiatal hernia, in which there is a hole in the diaphragm which makes the oesophagus accessible to the upper part of the stomach
Extreme obese conditions
Minimum or no physical exercise
Over usage of calcium-channel blockers, painkillers and antidepressants
Symptoms of acid reflux The most important symptom of acid reflux is heart burn which causes nausea and the pain of heart burn can rise to the back of the neck. At times, the stomach can push the acid to an extent that it leaves a bitter and sour sensation in the throat. Other symptoms include –
Difficulty in swallowing
Acid reflux treatment The main acid reflux treatment drugs are –
Helps in reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach by using the mechanism of proton pump inhibitor. It is advised to use omeprazole for acid reflux treatment in cases of moderate symptoms.
Like omeprazole in its mode pf action, lansoprazole is also a proton pump inhibitor that reduces and restricts the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for acid reflux treatment. However, there are other classes of drugs too which can be used to treat acid reflux. These include H2 blockers and prokinetics. But the most important change necessary to treat symptoms of acid reflux is change in lifestyle and proper diet. Acid reflux treatment can be achieved with just proper diet and exercise if the disease is diagnosed at an early stage. Complications If not diagnosed and treated at an early stage, repetitive occurrences of acid reflux can lead to complications in the body like –
Oesophagitis – inflammation in the oesophageal lining causing bleeding and ulcers.
Strictures – difficulty in swallowing owing to damage cause by the stomach acid.
Barrett’s oesophagus – a condition which changes the composition of the cells and tissues of the oesophagus with chances of causing cancer.