ACID IN YOUR STOMACH

Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It is a long term condition that usually follows a chronic relapsing course. Foods we take have an effect on the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

Causes: This occurs due to the inability of adequate closure of the lower esophageal sphincter.

 

Precipitants
Food (fatty food, greasy food or spicy food)
Smoking
Alcohol
Caffeine
Obesity
Pregnancy

Prevention
– Avoid overeating.
– Make sure you eat more than 3-4 hours before going to bed.
– Overweight individuals should lose weight.
– Tight wears around the abdomen should be avoided.

Symptoms
Heart burn is due to acid reflux causing burning pain in the chest
Sore throat, this is a burning sensation at the tissue wall of the throat which is caused by the acid and if it persists it can lead to difficulty in swallowing.
Stomach acid irritates the esophagus and can reach the back of the throat and upper airway causing a cough reflex, continuous reflux of the stomach acid can lead to dry cough.
Acid backing up to the mouth or throat causing a sour or bitter taste

Complications
These include esophageal erosion, esophageal ulcer and narrowing of the esophagus.
The esophageal lining or epithelium may be replaced with abnormal (Barrett’s) epithelium.
Barrett’s epithelium has been linked to cancer of the esophagus.

Diagnosis
Upper gastrointestinal series
Esophageal manometry
Esophageal PH monitoring

Treatment
Diet and lifestyle changes
Medications like Histamine receptor blockers( Cimetidine) Proton pump inhibitors ( Omeprazole ) Anti-cholinergics ( Atropine ), Antacids ( Aluminum hydroxide gel, Gaviscon )etc. will be prescribed.
If these have no effect and symptoms are severe, surgery is usually recommended.

Image credit:
Wikipedia, batashmedicine