Call your health-care professional when symptoms of GERD occur frequently, disrupt your sleep, interfere with work or other activities, are associated with respiratory problems, or are not relieved by self-care measures alone. It may feel like it’s difficult to swallow or feel a tightness in the throat when you have heartburn, and it may feel as if food is stuck in your throat or esophagus. The esophagus lies just behind the heart, so the term “heartburn” was coined to describe the sensation of acid burning the esophagus near where the heart is located. The lining of the esophagus does not share these resistant features and stomach acid can damage it.
This article examines the relationship between these three terms. It also describes treatments, associated symptoms, methods of prevention, and when to see a doctor. If you find yourself popping antacids like candy and you’re having heartburn more than a couple of times a week, or if you are using antacids for longer than two weeks, it’s time to see the doctor.
Stomach contents back up into the esophagus and cause burning. Find out how you can help prevent discomfort by eating correctly. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the long-term, regular occurrence of acid reflux. This can cause heartburn and tissue damage, among other symptoms.
9, 800 GERD sufferers, has linked proton pump inhibitors with increase risk of esophageal cancer. So why not just take the medications that neutralize stomach acid or restrict its production?
â€œGreasy and fatty foods can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to not tighten properly, which leads to stomach acid traveling back up the esophagus,â€ says Rizzo. Complications of acid reflux can include any of the following.
The stomach produces hydrochloric acid after a meal to aid in the digestion of food. As a person swallows, muscles in the esophagus move the food down into the stomach. Relaxation therapies. Techniques to calm stress and anxiety may reduce signs and symptoms of GERD. Ask your doctor about relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Acid Reflux
However, trigger foods can vary from person to person. People with GERD should try eliminating each food type from their diet to see if their symptoms improve. If they do not, they can incorporate the food back into their diet. 1. Bananas.
Five different PPIs are approved for the treatment of GERD, including omeprazole (Prilosec, Dexilant), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium), and dexlansoprazole (Dexilant). A sixth PPI product consists of a combination of omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid).
More recently, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole (Prilosec) or lansoprazole (Prevacid), and H2 blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), have become available, many over the counter. Long-term use of PPIs is linked to a risk of bone fractures, low vitamin B12, and pneumonia.
Note that smoking also substantially reduces the clearance of acid from the esophagus. This effect continues for at least 6 hours after the last cigarette. As previously mentioned, swallows are important in eliminating acid in the esophagus. Swallowing causes a ring-like wave of contraction of the esophageal muscles, which narrows the lumen (inner cavity) of the esophagus. The contraction, referred to as peristalsis, begins in the upper esophagus and travels to the lower esophagus.
pH testing also can be used to help evaluate whether reflux is the cause of symptoms (usually heartburn). To make this evaluation, while the 24-hour ph testing is being done, patients record each time they have symptoms. Then, when the test is being analyzed, it can be determined whether or not acid reflux occurred at the time of the symptoms. If reflux did occur at the same time as the symptoms, then reflux is likely to be the cause of the symptoms.
It is not known for certain how or why hiatal hernias develop. The most recently-described abnormality in patients with GERD is laxity of the LES. Specifically, similar distending pressures open the LES more in patients with GERD than in individuals without GERD. At least theoretically, this would allow easier opening of the LES and/or greater backward flow of acid into the esophagus when the LES is open.