About Acid Reflux
Acid reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly causing the contents of the stomach to leak back into the esophagus. This can cause a host of symptoms including acid regurgitation and heartburn. While the most common symptom is heartburn, not everyone who has GERD experiences heartburn. If you suspect that you have acid reflux, it is important to talk with your doctor for a professional diagnosis.
A few symptoms to look out for if you are concerned that you have acid reflux include:
- Heartburn – A burning sensation in the chest that becomes worse at night or that increases when you are eating, bending over or lying down
- A feeling that food is stuck behind your breastbone
- Nausea after you eat
Less common symptoms include coughing, hiccups, regurgitation, sore throat or difficulty swallowing.
If you are overweight, pregnant, or have a hiatal hernia, you are at higher risk for GERD. Individuals who smoke or drink alcohol regularly are also at higher risk. Certain drugs can cause GERD symptoms. These medications include beta-blockers, anticholinergics (often used to prevent seasickness), calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, bronchodilators (for asthma), and progestin.
Your doctor will typically recommend dietary and lifestyle changes first in order to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux disease. If these modifications in your diet and lifestyle do not relieve symptoms, the use of medications or even surgical treatment may be necessary.
It is important that your symptoms are addressed as soon as possible by a doctor. If GERD is not treated, the acid reflux can damage the lining of your esophagus, which can cause even more serious health issues down the road such as erosive esophagitis, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus, or esophageal cancer. Taking action right away will help in preventing the development of serious conditions and will provide relief from the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
To speak to our doctor, Dr. Michael Barakate, about your symptoms of acid reflux, please make an appointment at ENT Clinic Sydney today by calling 1300 123 368.