What is Gastroesophageal Reflux? What are its symptoms?

This is a common medical condition in which acid from the stomach leaks over to the oesophagus. This primarily occurs when the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus becomes weak. Gastro-oesophageal reflux, therefore, refers to the return of the stomach’s contents to the oesophagus.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste at the back of your mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Raspy voice or sore throat
  • Cough

If you experience the following, however, it’s important that you receive prompt medical attention:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Choking when you eat
  • Vomit blood or have bowel movements that are black or look like tar

What treatment can I expect for acid reflux?

Medication is generally the way in which your doctor will attempt to cure your symptoms. Some of these include antacids and surface acting agents, which can relieve mild symptoms but are only effective for a short period of time. Histamine blockers are stronger and long-lasting. Both these type can be purchased without a prescription.

Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective. Some can be purchased without a prescription.

If you wish to be proactive about preventing this condition from occurring, recurring, or simply to reduce your symptoms, you could also:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Raise the elevation of the upper part of your bed between 6-8 inches
  • Avoid food that triggers acid reflux (spicy food, coffee, chocolate, foods rich in fat, tomatoes and other citrus fruits etc.)
  • Cut down on alcohol and smoke
  • Eat small meals rather than 2-3 big meals
  • Avoid lying down for 3 hours after a meal

What is the best way to treat gastro-oesophageal reflux disease? 

What is the main cause of GORD? 

Can GORD be cured? 

Which foods can neutralise stomach acid? 

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