What Are Acid Reflux Symptoms?

What Are Acid Reflux Symptoms?



What is acid reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus- the tube connecting your mouth and stomach. Most people are able to manage the discomfort with lifestyle changes and medications.

Symptoms

Symptoms of acid reflux can include:
● Burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), usually after eating, can be worse at night or while lying down
● Backwash (regurgitation) of food or chyme
● Upper abdominal or chest pain
● Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
● Sensation of a lump in the throat
● Burping
● Dry cough or clearing throat repeatedly
● Nausea
● Bloating
● Sour taste in the mouth
● Sore throat, hoarseness, or laryngitis

Risk factors for GERD

● Overweight
● Earring large meals or overeating
● Consuming citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, peppermint, fatty foods, spicy foods
● Smoking
● Pregnancy
● History of hiatal hernia
● Using non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (aspirin or ibuprofen)

Lifestyle

Lifestyle changes that can improve symptoms include:
● Maintain a healthy weight
● Eat smaller more frequent meals
● Avoid citrus fruits, fatty or spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, or
other triggers
● Dont smoke
● Avoid laying down for two to three hours after eating meals
● When laying down, try to elevate your head 6 inches

Medications

Medications for the treatment of acid reflux symptoms can include:
● Antacids: pepto-bismol, tums; these will help symptoms, but won’t fix any damage to the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid

● H-2 receptor blockers: famotidine, ranitidine, cimetidine; this class of medication will reduce the amount of acid that is produced by the body, they can help relieve symptoms
for longer periods of time.
● Proton pump inhibitors (PPI): omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole; these medications block the acid that the body makes, which allows for the esophagus to heal.
If lifestyle modifications, over the counter products, and prescription medications do not work; surgery may be a possible treatment for acid reflux.

Summary:

  • GERD Definition: Stomach acid flows into the esophagus causing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
  • Common Symptoms: Heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, lump in throat, burping, coughing, nausea, bloating, sour taste, and throat issues.
  • Risk Factors: Overweight, large meals, specific food and drink consumption, smoking, pregnancy, hiatal hernia, and NSAID use.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Maintain healthy weight, eat smaller meals, avoid triggers, quit smoking, don’t lie down after eating, elevate head while lying down.
  • Medication Options: Antacids for symptom relief, H-2 receptor blockers to reduce acid production, Proton Pump Inhibitors to block acid and promote esophageal healing. Surgery considered if other treatments fail.

This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.

There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

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