Acid reflux, is a condition where stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus. It is normally caused by alterations in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. According to current acid reflux information, this includes excessive relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which usually keeps the top of the stomach closed; inhibited expulsion of gastroesophageal reflux coming from the esophagus, or also a hiatal hernia.
These changes may be temporary or permanent. Another type of acid reflux that causes laryngeal and respiratory symptoms is called laryngopharygeal reflux. This type is not likely to produce heartburn, and is sometimes referred to as "silent reflux". Left untreated, this condition may develop into Barrett's esophagus, a form of intestinal metaplasia which is itself a precursor for carcinoma. It is unknown exactly what the risk is of progression from Barrett's to dysplasia, but it is estimated to be approximately 20% of cases. Acid reflux can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is when it becomes a chronic condition. It is considered to be the most objective test for diagnosing the reflux and also allows for monitoring patients for their response to surgical or medical treatment.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
According to what we know of current acid reflux information, some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux are: heartburn, vomiting, and trouble swallowing. A few of the more uncommon symptoms are: painful swallowing, nausea, and chest pain. Excessive salivation is also common with heartburn- saliva, being slightly alkaline, is the body's natural defense against heartburn, with similar effects to an antacid. If the stomach acid causes damage to the upper digestive tract, symptoms can include: reflux esophagitis (death of tissue causing ulcers around the stomach and esophagus), esophageal strictures (the continual narrowing of the esophagus due to inflammation), Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma ( a form of cancer).
Other symptoms with acid reflux information include: laryngitis, asthma, chronic cough, sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), erosion of the enamel of the teeth, and chronic cough. Gastroesophageal reflux is sometimes difficult to detect in children. Symptoms range from adult symptoms to spitting up, constant crying, failure to gain weight, not eating, bad breath, and belching or burping. About one third of babies born each year in the U.S. will have problems with acid reflux during their first few months of life.
Acid Reflux Treatment
Current acid reflux information suggests sufferers of gastroesophageal reflux can find relief by raising the head off the bed, sleeping while sitting up, or raising the torso with pillows. A sufferer of gastroesophageal reflux should not raise the head only, since this does little to help heartburn, while placing considerable and continuous strain upon the neck. Avoiding the eating of large meals which causes excessive production of stomach acid can be helpful with reflux. One could eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than large ones, particularly for the dinner meal. A sufferer might benefit by avoiding those foods which trigger symptoms.
According to current acid reflux information, these may include fruit or juice, pretzels, fatty foods, coffee, tea, chocolate, onions, peppermint, or very spicy foods, particularly right before bedtime. Tight clothing around the waist may also increase heartburn risk by putting pressure on the stomach, which forces the acids and foods contained in the stomach to reflux into the esophagus. Loosening the clothing may help with gastroesophageal reflux according to currently accepted acid reflux information.