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Acid Reflux: symptoms and treatments

Acid Reflux: symptoms and treatments

Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. At the entrance of the stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the food passes through the esophagus, LES closed normally. If due for any reason, LES doesn’t close all the way or if it opens too often, the acid that is produced by the stomach can move up into the esophagus. It causes symptoms like heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest. When acid reflux happens more than twice a week, it results in an acid reflux disorder called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux leads to many symptoms, here are the most common ones:

  1. Heartburn ( a burning pain that moves from stomach to abdomen or chest or even throat )
  2. Regurgitation ( when a bitter or sour tasting acid backs up into the mouth or throat )
  3. Bloating
  4. Bloody or black stools 
  5. Bloody vomiting 
  6. Burping
  7. Dysphagia
  8. Hiccups
  9. Nausea
  10. Weight loss ( without any reason )
  11. Wheezing, dry cough, hoarse voice, 
  12. Chronic sore throat

Treatments 

Lifestyle changes

To relieve symptoms of acid reflux disease, certain lifestyle changes can be made, like:

  1. Losing weight if you are overweight and maintaining a healthy weight
  2. If you smoke, quit smoking
  3. Avoid big or heavy meals in the evening
  4. Not lying down immediately after eating, waiting a few hours after eating
  5. Elevation of the head while sleeping 

Medication or surgery

For most cases, lifestyle changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve the symptoms of GERD, sometimes surgery is needed. Talk to your doctor about what medications you can take. A doctor will conduct physical exams or order tests to investigate the extent of your disease and offer a treatment plan according to that.

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