Acid reflux is a condition that involves stomach content flowing back into the esophagus. The condition causes discomforts such as heartburn and dysphagia, and if left untreated can lead to cancer. You can seek the help of Dr. Michael Sutker McKinney to manage the condition before its symptoms get out of hand.
Symptoms of acid reflux
- Trouble swallowing
- Upper abdominal/ chest pain
- The sensation of a lump in your throat
Who is at risk of acid reflux disease?
While anyone can get heartburn or acid reflux, some people are more prone to the condition. Such people include:
- People with obesity
- Pregnant women
- People who exercise too much or too little
Acid reflux complications
If you leave the disease untreated, you might suffer complications with dire effects than a burning sensation. Due to the acidic nature of the stomach contents, your esophagus might develop ulcers and even lead to cancer.
The following are some common acid reflux complications:
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that occurs when the acid damages the cells lining the stomach. Repeated exposure from the acidic stomach contents to the cells can lead to the growth of cancer cells. Symptoms include heartburn that can wake you from sleep, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, and blood in the stool.
The acid leads to the development of scars on the lining of the esophagus. The scars make it difficult to swallow food leading to swallowing difficulties. The scars can also make it difficult for food to travel down the esophagus. Symptoms include pain while swallowing and unexpected weight loss.
The acid eats away at the esophagus lining, leading to inflammation, ulcerations, and bleeding. Common symptoms include chest pain while eating and food getting stuck in the esophagus. Eating spicy foods will worsen the problem if you have the condition.
If you experience acid reflux occasionally, you can try to change your diet and avoid trigger foods. If you experience acidic backflow frequently, you might need medications to deal with the condition. The following are the most common medications you can use:
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Esomeprazole
- Antacids like Alka-Seltzer, Mylanta
- Alginate antacids like Gaviscon
The medications above work by reducing the amount of acid that the stomach lining can produce and minimizing the symptoms of the condition.
Whether you experience the disease frequently or occasionally, you can follow tips to help you deal with the disease. By adopting a proper diet and lifestyle habits, you will be able to keep the condition under control. Follow the below tips:
- Eat your food 2-3 hours before bedtime
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Avoid spicy or trigger foods
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating
- Take a 10-30 minute walk to aid with digestion
If you experience heartburn more than three times a week, it is best to seek the services of a specialist. You can visit Dr. Michael Sutker and his team for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Call or schedule an appointment online today to enhance your life’s quality.