Acid reflux is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid moves back up into your esophagus. According to a study by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, hospitalization with primary or secondary GERD symptoms increased by 216% from 995,402 in 1998 to 3,141,965 in 2005. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux more than 2 times a week, you might have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is prevalent globally and according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, GERD prevalence in the UAE and the Middle East was 8.7%–33.1%. Acid reflux is also known as acid indigestion, heartburn, or pyrosis.
Various causes of acid reflux include;
Low stomach acid is one of the major causes of acid reflux; this is why reflux increases with age as your stomach acid decreases. Nutrition deficiencies, infections, and stress can also cause low stomach acid. Low stomach acid causes indigestion that results in bloating which results in acid reflux.
SIBO is the over-reproduction of bacteria in your small intestine. These bacteria produce hydrogen and methane gas, and these gases cause bloating and other irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, including acid reflux.
H.Pylori or Helicobacter Pylori is a bacterial infection that decreases stomach acid production which leads to acid reflux.
Eating too much can cause acid reflux which can happen to most individuals, especially during holidays and celebrations. Overeating causes reflux because your stomach does not digest the food properly.
Wheat, other gluten-rich foods, or dairy, especially if you’re lactose intolerant can cause acid reflux.
Being overweight puts more pressure on your stomach.
Although everyone reacts to different foods differently, some foods like citrus fruits, coffee, fried foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, etc., cause acid reflux.
The most obvious sign of GERD is acid reflux, which can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest. This is known as heartburn. Acid reflux can cause a bitter or sour taste at the back of your mouth, which might cause the regurgitation of drinks and foods from the stomach into the mouth.
Other symptoms include;
· Chest pain
· Pain when swallowing
· Bad breath
· Chronic cough
· Hoarse voice
· Difficulty swallowing
· Asthma and recurring pneumonia
· Dental erosion
· Upper abdominal and chest pain.
It is advisable to consult the Best Gastroenterologists Dubai clinics when you experience acid reflux symptoms at least twice a week. If you have severe or frequent symptoms, your physician might order the following tests;
· Barium swallow (esophagram) to check for ulcers or the narrowing of the esophagus. The physician asks you to swallow a solution to make the digestive system visible on the X-ray.
· PH monitoring to check whether you have acid in your esophagus. The physician inserts a medical device in your esophagus and leaves it for 1 or 2 days to deduce the amount of acid present.
· Esophageal manometry to determine whether the lower esophageal sphincter and esophagus movement function effectively.
· A biopsy can be conducted during endoscopy to examine tissue samples under a microscope for abnormalities and infections.
· Endoscopy tests whether you have problems in your stomach or esophagus.
Your physician might recommend lifestyle changes and medication to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease. In some cases, your doctor might recommend surgery. Options include;
Changing your lifestyle can the symptoms. Making the following changes is beneficial;
· Quit smoking
· Lose weight if you are obese/overweight
· Change your diet and eating habits.
You can purchase over-the-counter medication if you have acid reflux. However, if you have frequent symptoms, it is advisable to consult your physician. Your doctor might prescribe:
· Antacids - Your physician might recommend antiacids if you have mild heartburn and other mild gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. Although you can get antacids over the counter to fight acid reflux, you should not take them every day or use them for severe symptoms. Consult your physician before taking any antacids because you can experience side effects like constipation and diarrhea.
· Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) - These lower the amount of stomach acid produced. PPIs are effective at treating GERD symptoms and can heal the esophageal lining for most individuals with GERD. You can get a prescription or buy PPIs over the counter. Most doctors treat long-term GERD with PPIs.
· H2 blockers – These blockers lower the amount of stomach acid produced. Although H2 blockers can help heal the esophageal lining, they are not as effective as PPIs. You can get a prescription or buy H2 blockers over the counter.
· Other medications – If you take antacids, PPIs, and H2 blockers and your condition does not improve, your physician can recommend other medications.
If your GERD symptoms fail to improve with lifestyle changes and medication, your physician might recommend surgery. You can also get surgery if you wish to stop taking long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease medication to manage your symptoms.
These surgeries include;
Your physician might recommend bariatric surgery if you are overweight and have GERD to help you lose weight and reduce acid reflux.
This is the most common surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is effective for long-term improvement for most people. The surgery involves sewing the top of your stomach towards the end of the esophagus.
This puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which helps to reduce acid reflux. The surgeon can perform this surgery as an open surgery or laparoscopic. Laparoscopic surgery is more common and it involves making tiny cuts in your abdomen and inserting special medical tools to operate.
In rare cases, doctors might recommend this procedure. Endoscopy involves the insertion of an endoscope through your mouth into the esophagus. Surgeons might use this procedure to sew the top of your stomach towards the end of the esophagus to lower stomach acid.
Most people experience occasional heartburn which can be treated with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication. You can also consult your physician at the best gastroenterologists Dubai clinics.
N.m.c. Specialty Hospital
Amman Street, Al Nahda 2
United Medical Center
Oud Metha, Oudh Metha
Prime Medical Center Sheikh Zayed Road LLC
Sh Zayed Road, Al Qoze Industrial 1
Al Mousa Day Surgery Center
Al Wasl, Jumeira 1