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Acid Reflux Treatment

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Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition in which the acid, normally found in the stomach, is thrown into the esophagus, that is, into the muscle tube connecting the oral cavity and stomach.

  • burning behind the sternum, known as heartburn,
  • burning in the throat or sour taste in the mouth,
  • pain in the upper abdomen or behind the sternum,
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hoarseness or sore throat,
  • unexplained cough.

Epidemiological data indicate that 15–20% of the adult population in developed countries experience symptoms at least once a week. In Western Europe and the USA, 40-50% of people experience heartburn all the time. In Russia, 63.6% of women and 61.7% of men complain of GERD, with 15.1% and 10.3% of them, respectively, experiencing symptoms often or constantly. The incidence of GERD is steadily increasing. The costs of antisecretory therapy of GERD alone in the world are estimated at $ 3 billion a year.

Some patients can cope with reflux on their own - by changing their lifestyle or using over-the-counter drugs. But if the symptoms become more pronounced and lasting and you can’t control them yourself, you should still visit a doctor.

You should consult a doctor immediately if:

  • difficulty swallowing or feeling that the food is stuck along the way to the stomach,
  • a person loses weight, not trying to do it,
  • there was pain behind the sternum,
  • a person chokes while eating,
  • there was an episode of vomiting with blood, stools of a bloody or black color or became tarry.

If a child develops symptoms of GERD, he should be taken to a doctor. No need to give children medication on their own. In children, these symptoms can be caused by a number of other disorders. It is very important to consult a doctor before starting treatment.

Diagnosis of GERD is usually based on the clinical picture and a positive response to treatment. Often, the doctor prescribes a trial treatment without additional studies. If the diagnosis is unclear or if there is a suspicion of a more serious disease, doctors resort to tests.

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (endoscopic examination) - an endoscopic examination is used to examine the esophagus. A thin flexible tube is inserted through the esophagus into the stomach and further into the small intestine. The handset is equipped with a light source and a video camera, with the help of them an image is transmitted to the monitor screen. During the study, the doctor sees the damaged areas of the mucous membrane and can take a small sample of the damaged tissue (biopsy) to determine the cause of the damage.
  • 24-hour pH measurement of the esophagus - mainly used to determine the frequency of acid reflux (reflux of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus). Usually it is used if the diagnosis is unclear after endoscopy and trial treatment. Also, the study is informative if the patient continues to experience symptoms during treatment. For this study, a thin probe is inserted through the nose into the patient’s gastrointestinal tract, which does not interfere with eating, drinking, talking.
  • Esophageal manometry - the patient swallows a thin flexible tube that measures pressure during muscular contractions of the esophagus. Using this method, you can determine the location of the lower esophageal sphincter and evaluate its function. This study is performed to verify the diagnosis and before surgical treatment of GERD.

You can alleviate the symptoms of GERD yourself if:

  • reduce weight (with excess body weight),
  • raise the head of the bed 12-15 cm,
  • avoid foods that increase the severity of symptoms (coffee, chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, carbonated drinks, fatty foods),
  • reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages (especially carbonated ones),
  • quit smoking
  • do not go to bed for 1-2 hours after eating.

There are several main groups of drugs that help cope with symptoms: antacids, alginates, histamine H2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. All of them reduce the production of acid in the stomach. But their mechanisms of action are different.

Antacids and alginates alleviate symptoms, but they act for a very short time. The action of histamine H2 receptor blockers is more powerful and longer than antacids. Antacids and most histamine H2 receptor blockers are sold over the counter.

Proton pump inhibitors are most effective for the treatment of GERD.

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux, also sometimes known as “heartburn,” is a common medical problem that occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus. Sufferers often feel a burning sensation deep in the chest that can penetrate their throat.

The condition does not actually affect the heart, although people often feel the greatest pressure right in this area of ​​the chest.

There are several different reasons, but most of them are related to diet. Strongly acidic foods are some of the worst culprits, as are foods that are particularly spicy or difficult to digest. Sometimes factors such as weight can also be taken into account, and most often those who suffer from a heavy body, obesity or pregnancy.

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Reflux, which is persistent or recurs frequently, may result from a gastrointestinal upset. Anyone who is worried about specific symptoms or problems usually makes sense to speak with a qualified medical expert to find out the cause of the problem.

Digestion basics

Human digestion is a complex process that depends on a number of different moving parts. Food usually enters through the mouth, where saliva begins to break down, from where it passes down the throat, into the esophagus, and finally down into the stomach, where most of the beating and destruction of particles occurs. The stomach uses many fairly aggressive acids to divide food into beneficial components, and they can damage other more sensitive tissues. Most healthy people have a valve or valve known as Lowesophageal Sphincter (LES), which keeps stomach acid from esophagus after the start of digestion.

When LES relaxes, food and acid can leak into the esophagus. In turn, leakage of acid causes irritation or burning, which is collectively known as acid reflux. Although this is inconvenient, the problem usually does not last long. Secondary peristalsis, which is the movement of the esophagus caused by swallowing, pushes about 90% of the food and acid back into the stomach, usually within an hour or so. In most cases, the LES closes again for normal digestion, and the remaining 10% of the food and acid remaining in the esophagus are usually neutralized by saliva.

Recurring Problems and Root Causes

In most cases, reflux occurs sporadically and does not always have a definable underlying cause. However, for others, the problem may be more or less constant. Some patients experience heartburn after eating virtually nothing. In these cases, the condition is often part of a larger problem known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD can be caused by many different factors. Some of the most common include short-term relaxation of LES, decreased tone of resting LES, impaired esophageal clearance, delayed gastric emptying, decreased salivation, and impaired tissue resistance. Often this is due to an inherited defect in the esophagus, although people who have suffered an injury and trauma may have digestive problems as a side effect.

Treatment Options and Getting Help

Treatment for acid reflux usually begins by determining the cause of its occurrence. Taking mild antacid is often effective, especially for people whose reflux outbreaks occur only sporadically. Many people think that eating soft foods like regular bread or crackers after eating can also prevent the worst symptoms. Those who primarily experience outbreaks at night can sometimes find relief by slightly propping up their beds to raise their torso and aid digestion down. .

GERD patients often find pharmaceutical regimens useful. A number of different medications have been developed to help soothe acid regurgitation and promote proper digestive function. In extreme cases, an operation to restore or strengthen the esophagus may also be recommended, but usually this is the last resort.

Acid reflux: recommendations

Natural Acid Reflux Medicines, Causes, Home Remedies.

Some people often experience acid reflux when the acid from the stomach goes back into the esophagus. Ultimately, this can lead to the formation of scar tissue and cause problems with swallowing.

Typically, acid reflux is known as "reflux esophagitis." There is inflammation of the esophagus caused by regurgitation of the contents of the stomach. He is usually recognized as the main symptom of "heartburn." It is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. The name "reflux" or "reflux esophagitis" is also its most common name. At some point, almost everyone in their life is experiencing this problem. To check the condition of the gastric tract, modern medicine uses various methods, like endoscopy and gastroscopy of the stomach without swallowing the probe, which is much more comfortable for the patient than the first method using the tube.

Causes of Acid Reflux

There are various causes of acid reflux. The most common causes of heartburn or acid reflux include:

  1. alcohol
  2. smoking
  3. frequent consumption of fatty, fried foods
  4. drinking a lot of carbonated drinks like soda
  5. large meals
  6. slow gastric emptying
  7. bedtime meal
  8. voltage
  9. increased hormone levels during pregnancy

It is not necessary that you may feel acid reflux symptoms after every meal or every day. Symptoms may disappear within a few weeks, and then eventually return. Some of the common symptoms of acid reflux include:

  1. nausea
  2. regurgitation
  3. heartburn
  4. odnophagia or dysphagia
  5. breathing problems
  6. some oral symptoms

There are some popular natural remedies that are very effective against acid reflux.

1. Apple cider vinegar is considered one of the best natural remedies for acid reflux. To get the best result, take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mix with a glass of water, drink everything with a meal. Diluted apple cider vinegar has a calming effect on your stomach, and also reduces the production of digestive fluids.

2. One of the most powerful natural remedies for acid reflux is cinnamon. It helps the stomach control the production of stomach acid, and also normalizes the activity of the stomach. Cinnamon is known for its antiseptic effect, as well as for its healing properties.

3. Increase your intake of fruits, such as grapefruits, bananas. Dried figs and fresh papaya also help. These fruits are rich in enzymes and are very useful in the digestion process. Increase your intake of vegetables as it is a source of vitamins and minerals.

Quitting smoking can reduce acid reflux.

Illustration of a human stomach. With acid reflux, stomach acid passes from the stomach to the esophagus.

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