What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition that occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus. This can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms potential complications.
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) plays a crucial role in preventing the backflow of stomach acid. However when the LES weakens or relaxes inappropriately it allows stomach acid to flow upward into the esophagus. This weakening or relaxation can be caused by various factors including:
- Hiatal hernia
- Certain medications
- Consuming certain foods drinks
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn which is a burning sensation in the chest. Other symptoms may include:
- Regurgitation (acidic taste in the mouth)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chronic cough
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Asthma-like symptoms
Treatment for acid reflux aims to alleviate symptoms prevent complications. It may include lifestyle changes such as:
- Diet modifications (avoiding trigger foods drinks)
- Weight loss in cases of obesity
- Elevating the head while sleeping
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothing
- Quitting smoking
In addition medications such as antacids proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) H2 blockers can be prescribed to reduce acid production or neutralize the stomach acid. In severe cases surgery may be recommended to strengthen the LES or treat complications.
Acid reflux is a common condition that can cause significant discomfort affect the quality of life. Recognizing the symptoms seeking appropriate treatment can help manage alleviate the symptoms effectively.