Find out how you can help prevent discomfort by eating correctly. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). These medications, which include Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, block acid aid and production in healing damaged esophageal tissue, so they should be taken by people who are having more frequent, severe symptoms. Some people say they think that these drugs provide immediate relief, but they can take one to four days to work and should be taken for at least two weeks, or if your doctor recommends longer.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the long-term, regular occurrence of acid reflux. This can cause heartburn and tissue damage, among other symptoms.
Although diseases of the throat or larynx usually are the cause of the inflammation, sometimes GERD can be the cause. Accordingly, ENT specialists try acid-suppressing treatment to confirm the diagnosis of GERD often. This approach, however, has the same problems as above discussed, that total result from using the response to treatment to confirm GERD. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (also known as esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy or EGD) is a common way of diagnosing GERD.
Patients should be made aware of the most common provocative factors, including fatty foods, citrus fruits, tomato-based foods, coffee (including decaffeinated brands), chocolate, and alcohol. Patients should be advised to evaluate their own diets and eliminate the agents that precipitate symptoms; however, a blanket recommendation to avoid all food that may cause reflux is overly restrictive. Smoking is associated with a higher frequency of symptomatic GERD also, and the possibility of symptom relief may motivate smoking cessation efforts. Although gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder of esophageal motility, the therapy of reflux disease is aimed at reducing gastric acidity in order to decrease the injurious effect of the refluxate to the esophageal mucosa. That’s why, if you have had heartburn or acid reflux for longer than three years consistently, you should have an endoscopy, says Brown.
Transient LES relaxations appear to be the most common way in which acid reflux occurs. Although there is an available drug that prevents relaxations (baclofen), it has side effects that are frequent to be generally useful too. Much attention is being directed at the development of drugs that prevent these relaxations without accompanying side effects. A third type of endoscopic treatment involves the injection of materials into the esophageal wall in the area of the LES. The injected material is intended to increase pressure in the LES and thereby prevent reflux.
- Complications of acid reflux can include any of the following.
- One of the smartest home remedies for heartburn is gum, says Olivia Rose, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, Canada.
- This condition is referred to as Barrett’s esophagus and occurs in approximately 10% of patients with GERD.
- If symptoms do not improve, a second dose of PPI, to be taken before dinner, may be added.
- Those seeking more information about GERD can join the 750,000 people who in the last three years have called the American College of Gastroenterology’s hot line, (800) HRT-BURN (478-2876).
- It is common during pregnancy because of hormonal changes, and because the growing baby is pushing up against the stomach.
Therefore, in most patients, endoscopy shall not help in the diagnosis of GERD. However, sometimes the lining of the esophagus appears inflamed (esophagitis). Moreover, if erosions (superficial breaks in the esophageal lining) or ulcers (deeper breaks in the lining) are seen, a diagnosis of GERD can be made confidently. Endoscopy will also identify several of the complications of GERD, specifically, ulcers, strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus. Biopsies also may be obtained.
A number of anatomic and physiologic mechanisms normally prevent reflux from occurring, and derangement in any of these can promote esophageal acid exposure. The most important factors at work in preventing reflux include the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), esophageal clearance mechanisms that limit contact time with noxious substances, and mucosal protective factors intrinsic to the esophageal mucosa. Could you have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)?
Mild heartburn that occurs after eating spicy or acidic food typically lasts until the food has been digested. Heartburn symptoms may also return several hours after they appeared if you bend over or lie down first. If you experience heartburn more than two or three times a week, talk to your doctor.
Barrett’s esophagus can be recognized visually at the time of an endoscopy and confirmed by microscopic examination of the lining cells. Then, patients with Barrett’s esophagus can undergo periodic surveillance endoscopies with biopsies although there is not agreement as to which patients require surveillance. The purpose of surveillance is to detect progression from pre-cancer to more cancerous changes so that cancer-preventing treatment can be started. It also is believed that patients with Barrett’s esophagus should receive maximum treatment for GERD to prevent further damage to the esophagus.