Reflux Rxs And When To Consider Surgery
If lifestyle tweaks arent doing the trick, you might consider medication. Over-the-counter antacids neutralize stomach acid and offer fast relief. At the next level of treatment, for moderate to severe acid reflux, are H2-receptor blockers , which reduce the production of acid in your stomach. H2 blockers dont completely block acid production but affect it enough that people feel improved, and they work pretty fast, Ergun says.
The next choice: proton pump inhibitors . Stronger than H2-receptor blockers, they block stomach acid secretion and give damaged esophageal tissue time to heal. These drugs are helpful when you have esophagitis or Barretts esophagus. And, unlike H2 blockers, you dont have to take them two or three times a day. Many are found over the counter, but a doctor can prescribe them in higher doses.
The good news: GERD can usually be tamed with medication. But if the problem is persistent, your doctor may suggest using a medical procedure or surgery to get things under control. Laparoscopic fundoplication is one such treatment. During this minimally invasive procedure, a surgeon wraps the top of your stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter to tighten the muscle and prevent reflux.
Barbara Stepko is a longtime health and lifestyle writer, and former editor at Womens Health and InStyle. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Parade and other national magazines.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Gerd
GERD is a very common health problem that can impact anyone. It may not be completely avoided, but it can be managed and treated with antacid medications. In addition, dietary changes can help reduce the number of GERD episodes you may experience. If your GERD is very severe, then surgery may be needed.
Indigestion Vs Heartburn And Gerd
It is common for people to confuse indigestion with heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease , but these are separate conditions. Some people who experience heartburn describe it as indigestion. Although both conditions have similar triggers, and in many instances may even be treated similarly, indigestion isn’t the same thing as heartburn. Indigestion is an overall condition, whereas heartburn may be a symptom of indigestion, GERD, or other underlying diagnosis.
Occasionally, heartburn is one of the symptoms of indigestion. Heartburn is felt when stomach acid comes up through the lower esophageal sphincter that links your esophagus to your stomach. This causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat. When you feel the taste in the back of your mouth it may be called acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal reflux is when your stomach contents come back up into the esophagus GERD is classified as a sustained or chronic state of GER.
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What Causes Reflux And Gerd In Children
There is a muscle that acts as a valve between the esophagus and stomach. When your child swallows, this muscle relaxes to let food pass from the esophagus to the stomach. This muscle normally stays closed, so the stomach contents don’t flow back into the esophagus.
In children who have reflux and GERD, this muscle becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t, and the stomach contents flow back into the esophagus. This can happen because of
- A hiatal hernia, a condition in which the upper part of your stomach pushes upward into your chest through an opening in your diaphragm
- Increased pressure on the abdomen from being overweight or having obesity
- Medicines, such as certain asthma medicines, antihistamines , pain relievers, sedatives , and antidepressants
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- A previous surgery on the esophagus or upper abdomen
- Certain neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy
Surgery For A Hiatus Hernia
Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia. This involves making small cuts in your tummy .
It’s done under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep during the operation.
After surgery, it usually takes:
- 2 to 3 days to go home
- 3 to 6 weeks to go back to work
- 6 weeks before you can eat what you want
- a few months to recover from side effects like bloating, burping, farting and difficulty swallowing
There’s a small risk that your side effects will not go away and you’ll need more surgery.
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Sodas And Carbonated Beverages
Sodas and carbonated beverages are also common culprits of heartburn.
Research suggests that these beverages may relax the esophageal sphincter and increase the acidity of stomach acid two risk factors for heartburn .
In one study, scientists observed the sleeping patterns of more than 15,000 people, finding that approximately 25% experienced nighttime heartburn.
After further investigation, the researchers found that nighttime heartburn was strongly linked to several factors, including drinking carbonated soft drinks .
Another study found that people who consumed carbonated beverages had a 69% higher risk of developing reflux symptoms like heartburn .
Summary Sodas and other carbonated beverages may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. If sodas or other carbonated beverages give you heartburn, consider cutting back or avoiding them completely.
Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms
Usually, acid reflux symptoms cause no complications. In a few cases, continued esophageal damage can lead to scarring, which may cause the esophagus to narrow. The narrowing creates strictures and makes it difficult to swallow. You may have dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus. In some cases, normal cells in the lining of the esophagus may be replaced by a different type of cell. This is called Barrett’s esophagus, which can sometimes develop into cancer.
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What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.
With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.
While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.
How Heart Palpitations Are Diagnosed
Heart palpitations are diagnosed using a device called an electrocardiogram.
An electrocardiogram is used to measure the electrical system of the heart and can provide insight into palpitations. Sometimes a wearable device is used to record your heart rhythm for several days to better understand your hearts conduction system.
Your primary care doctor or a doctor who specializes in heart disease can evaluate you if you have significant heart palpitations.
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What Triggers Indigestion
Depending on what’s causing your indigestion, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating , belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, “growling” stomach, and even diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours.
Indigestion can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, including ulcers, pancreas abnormalities, or acid reflux disease. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last for more than two weeks.
What Causes Heartburn
A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus normally prevents foods and acid from backing up. This muscle acts like a tight drawstring to close off the opening between the esophagus and stomach when a person is not eating.
Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close all the way.
Why doesn’t the lower esophageal sphincterclose all the way?
Many different things loosen the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Certain foods and drinks loosen the lower esophageal sphincter. These include chocolate, peppermint, caffeine-containing beverages , fatty foods, and alcohol.
- The body’s position affects the lower esophageal sphincter. It is easier for stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus if a person is lying down or bending over.
- Anything that increases the pressure on the stomach can force stomach acid backward and cause heartburn. Lifting, straining, coughing, tight clothing, obesity, and pregnancy can worsen heartburn.
- Certain medical conditions increase a person’s chance of suffering from heartburn. A hiatal hernia, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases are linked to heartburn.
- Many prescription medications can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, including certain blood pressure and heart medications and the asthma drug theophylline.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
Why Is This Happening
Everybody needs acid in their stomach it helps break down food for digestion and kills bacteria. Its a defense mechanism and its pretty strong, Ergun says. Normally, you dont buy things to clean your house that are as strong as stomach acid. But the stuff in your stomach doesnt usually come up into your chest. There are mechanisms that the body has created for that.
At the bottom of the esophagus is a circular band of muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, which separates it from the stomach. It generally remains closed, but when we eat and swallow, this valve relaxes to let food and liquid pass through to the stomach, then closes again. Acid reflux occurs when the valve opens when its not supposed to, so the stomach contents be they food, acid or digestive juices flow backward.
Its normal for that valve to open from time to time, allowing us to let out a discreet burp. But problematic reflux can cause heartburn, especially after a meal or when you lie down to doze. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is chronic acid reflux that becomes problematic. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, its believed that as many as 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from it.
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What Does Severe Acid Reflux Feel Like
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight.
What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
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Laying Down After A Meal
Not only can the foods you eat trigger GERD, but so can the time of day you eat. HealthLinkBC recommends waiting two to three hours before laying down after a meal. Thats because the contents of your stomach can push against the valve between the esophagus and stomach when you lie down, triggering GERD symptoms.
How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
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Can Indigestion Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are ways to prevent indigestion. To start, you need to know your body and how it reacts to different food and drinks. Spicy and acidic foods and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion. Try to avoid those things when possible. Eat smaller meals throughout the day, and dont eat too late at night. Dont lie down too soon after eating. Limit the use of alcohol. If you use tobacco, try to quit. Stress and lack of sleep also can worsen symptoms.
Other Risk Factors For Gerd
While many GERD-inducing habits are within your control, there are other risk factors out of your control. Healthline says youre at higher risk of GERD if you:
- Are obese
- Are pregnant
- Have a connective tissue disorder
Monitor your health and keep tabs on your symptoms. If you fall under one of the risk factors, talk to your doctor to see if anything can be done to improve your condition and reduce the frequency of acid reflux and indigestion.
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What Causes Acid Reflux Disease
Several factors may increase your risk for acid reflux disease.
Stomach abnormalities. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which can occur in people of any age. A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. This is the muscle wall separating your stomach from your chest. When it works correctly, the diaphragm normally helps keep acid from rising into your esophagus. But if you have a hiatal hernia, it is easier for acid to move up into your esophagus.
Pregnancy. Many women experience acid reflux for the first time during pregnancy. This is caused by increasing levels of hormones combined with pressure from the growing fetus. Usually worst during the third trimester, the symptoms almost always go away after delivery.
Smoking.Smoking may contribute to acid reflux disease by doing any of the following:
- Damaging mucus membranes
- Impairing muscle reflexes in the throat
- Increasing acid secretion
Stomach Acid Reflux And Your Diet
The increasing prevalence of the condition in the western world means that dietary habits could be a potential cause. Plus, there is increasing evidence that lifestyle is a major cause for concern. But identifying the food or drinks causing your acid reflux means you can prevent it in the future by avoiding these triggers.
- feeling like there is a lump in your throat
- acidic taste or acid throat
FACTCan acid reflux cause stomach pain? When gastric acid irritates the stomach lining, its called gastritis. Gastritis and acid reflux are sometimes known as hyperacidity.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
Alcohol And Acid Reflux
The relationship between alcohol and acid reflux isnt as simple as it may seem. If youre reading this, chances are that youve experienced the uncomfortable sensation of acid rising up your throat and into your mouth after drinking alcohol, or may be curious to know what causes this feeling. Alcohol causes irritation in the esophagus and changes the pH levels of its contents, including saliva.
Nearly 1 in 3 adults suffers from heartburn on a regular basis, and while some turn to prescription drugs, others reach for a glass of wine to relax at the end of the day. But while wine may provide relief, it can also cause problems.
It is estimated that 30 to 60 million Americans have acid reflux or GERD. Acid reflux can be caused by many factors, including diet, obesity, smoking, stress, and the condition of the throat muscles. Alcohol consumption can worsen acid reflux by increasing stomach acids. Too much alcohol can cause the esophagus to relax and allow food and stomach acid to enter into the esophagus.
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Administer Apple Cider Vinegar
While you have acid boiling and burning in your stomach and esophagus, it might seem counter-productive to add more acid to your already struggling system, but apple cider vinegar can make you feel so much better.
Sometimes acid reflux can be caused by a lack of acid or lowered amounts of acid in your system. Adding a bit of acidic apple cider vinegar can stop these problems before they occur.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar with the water and drink before a meal.
- You can repeat before each meal or even 3-4 times throughout the day.
Notes: If you notice that your acid reflux is worsening, discontinue this home remedy.