Acid reflux is one of the most common conditions of the digestive system. It comes with burning pain, commonly referred to as heartburn, in the lower parts of the chest. It occurs when acid present in the stomach flows back into the food pipe. To diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease, you should have acid reflux at least two times each week. While the specific figures vary, diseases caused by acid reflux remain the most common gut complaint in American hospitals. Dallas acid reflux treatments include prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Acid reflux occurs when acid content in your stomach flows up into your esophagus through the gullet, which moves food from the mouth to the stomach. Regardless of the name, heartburn does not relate to the heart in any way. Your stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which helps break down food and fights against bacteria and other pathogens. While the stomach has a special lining protecting it against hydrochloric acid, your esophagus is primarily exposed.
A ring of muscle, known as the gastroesophageal sphincter, acts as a valve that allows food into the stomach. However, it cannot let the food flow back into the esophagus. When the muscle fails, your stomach can regurgitate some of its contents back into the esophagus, which explains why you feel the symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn.
Acid reflux disease affects people across all age brackets. In most cases, it results from lifestyle factors, but it can also come about due to unpreventable factors. Hiatal (or hiatus) hernia is one of the common causes of acid reflux disease that you cannot prevent. It happens when a hole in the diaphragm allows the upper parts of your stomach to enter your chest cavity.
Some of the risk factors you have more control over include:
- Reduced physical exercise
- Medications such as drugs for asthma, antihistamines, painkillers, antidepressants, and sedatives.
Pregnancy can also cause acid reflux disease due to the additional pressure placed on your internal organs. Dietary habits and food that can cause acid reflux disease include caffeine, alcohol, too much intake of table salt, low fiber, eating large meals, lying down two or three hours after eating, and taking carbonated drinks and acidic juices.
If you experience acid reflux disease in multiple cases, you may need proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers such as esomeprazole, rabeprazole or famotidine, and cimetidine, respectively. Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid produced in your stomach and limit the potential damage resulting from acid reflux. Although these drugs do not present any safety concerns, they may not help everyone suffering from acid reflux disease as you would expect with prescription drugs due to their side effects. For instance, they can affect your ability to absorb nutrients, potentially leading to malnutrition. You can also treat acid reflux disease using over-the-counter medications such as antacids.
Acid reflux disease is a common issue that comes with heartburn. You may have acid reflux disease if you experience acid reflux more than two times each week. Risk factors include obesity, smoking, pregnancy, and some medications. Treatments include both prescription and over-the-counter medications.