Gastoeresophageal reflux disease commonly known as GERD or acid reflux is a condition in which the gastric juice containing acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus. There are many symptoms of acid reflux. These include heartburn. This is a burning stomach feeling rising up from the or lower chest up towards the neck.
There is regurgitation that refers to bringing food from the stomach back into the mouth. There is also pain in the chest. It is also accompanied by dysphasia or problems in swallowing. There may be hoariness, dental erosion, and asthma. The acids can enter the throat, mouth, and passages of the lungs. There are people who contract this disease and have to undergo problems regularly. The stomach acids are special chemicals that help the body to break down food. It is usually the case that the partially digested acidic matter is poured by the stomach into the small intestine or what we commonly call the bowel for further digestion.
Patients suffering from acid reflux experience a condition in which the acid content in the stomach travels back into the esophagus or food pipe. These acids cause inflammation and damage. Many factors cause acid reflux like chocolate, caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, obesity, pregnancy, fatty foods and delayed emptying of stomach. Acid reflux is also the cause of heartburn and in extreme cases; this can be the cause of prolonged discomfort.
Acid reflux can lead to affecting the quality of life, and makes living, and working difficult in many cases. In the case of easophagitis, the lining of the food pipe is affected and this could lead to development of ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus culminating in difficulty in swallowing food or liquids. The disease can last for months or longer. The emptying of the contents of the stomach into the intestine takes place very slowly in some patients.
Causes of Acid Reflux
In some patients, obesity and pregnancy lead to an increase of pressure in the abdomen. This may result in acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs in patients more commonly when lying down. The stomach full of food and acids is more prone to this condition. The acid suppressants like histamine 2-receptor antagonists are used to treat acid reflux. The chemical is released in the body particularly during acid reflux caused inflammation. If the production of histamine in the stomach is blocked, the acid production is reduced leading to relief for the patient.
Acid Reflux Treatment
There are antacids that are used to treat mild acid related diseases like acidity or indigestion. But they are not recommended in chronic cases like acid reflux and to treat frequent heartburn that characterizes acid reflux. There are prokinetic agents that help in the emptying of the stomach so that it does not overfill. The pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter is increased. This is the muscular valve between the lower part of the stomach and the small bowel. There are proton pump inhibitors that brings down the creation of acids in the stomach walls by working on the cells in the stomach walls that make the acids.