Acid Reflux Disease also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is a commonly occurring medical condition when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not sufficiently close during/after intake of food. The entrance to the stomach from the esophagus is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve (LES) is meant to open during the intake of food and immediately shut back. If the LES opens too frequently or does not close all the way back, then the acid produced in the stomach works its way up into the esophagus.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
- Heartburn: The acid flowing into the esophagus causes burning chest pain (therefore called heart burn). This burning pain could move down to the abdomen from the stomach as well.
- Regurgitation: a sour/bitter acid backing up into the mouth or throat.
- Dysphagia: A condition where the esophagus’ width is narrowed and one can feel the difficulty is swallowing and the sensation of food being stuck.
- Weight loss for no particular reason.
- Bloating of the stomach.
- Black or bloody stool.
- Vomiting of blood.
- Constant hiccups or burps.
- Chronic sour throat, dry cough and wheezing.
Diagnosing Acid Reflux Disease
Three out of ten people experience heart burns occasionally, so how do you diagnose Acid Reflux Disease? Sometimes, when one changes his/her lifestyle, there are mild attacks of heart burns and can be cured with Barium Swallows (esophagram).
When the heart burns occur more than twice a week, it is advisable to check in with the doctor for Acid Reflux Disease. Here are a few common ways by which Acid Reflux disease can be diagnosed:
- Esophageal manometry
- pH monitoring
- A biopsy
Few Proven Cures
- Decrease acid production with H2 blockers
- Reduce Acid Reflux by strengthening the LEC and emptying the stomach faster by taking in Prokinetics.
- Reducing the amount of acid production in the stomach by taking in Proton Pump Inhibitors.
In a nutshell, regular eating habits, a well-balanced diet and sufficient exercise helps prevent Acid Reflux Disease.