Gastroesophageal Reflux

August 14 20:25 2019 Print This Article

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called is the abnormal backflow of stomach acid and juices into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. Because the stomach manufactures acid as an aid to digestion, this phenomenon is often referred to as acid reflux. Most of us experience acid reflux from time to time as heartburn or indigestion.

However, if acid reflux happens a lot it can damage the sensitive lining of the oesophagus. This is when simple heartburn becomes GORD. If the damage to your oesophagus leads to inflammation (soreness and swelling), this is called oesophagitis. When a person is standing or sitting, gravity helps to prevent the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus, which explains why reflux can worsen when a person is lying down.

Reflux is also more likely to occur soon after meals, when the volume and acidity of contents in the stomach are higher and the sphincter is less likely to work properly. Factors contributing to reflux include weight gain, fatty foods, chocolate, caffeinated and carbonated beverages, alcohol, tobacco smoking, and certain drugs. Types of drugs that interfere with lower esophageal sphincter function include those that have anticholinergic effects (such as many antihistamines and some antidepressants), calcium channel blockers, progesterone, and nitrates.

Gastroesophageal reflux is the backward movement of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. Normally, when someone swallows, the food travels down the esophagus, the sphincter relaxes, and food is permitted to enter the stomach where a pool of acid awaits to continue digesting the food. The sphincter then closes tight. When the sphincter does not remain tightly closed, the acid and the food slosh back up into the esophagus. This is what is meant by reflux. These reflux stomach contents can burn the lining of the esophagus and irritate the lungs. A small amount of reflux immediately following meals is common in healthy adults and causes no problems. Swallowing saliva to wash away the acid protects the vulnerable walls of the esophagus.

Signs and Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Vomiting blood.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Hoarseness or change in voice.
  • Sore throat.
  • Cough or wheezing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Belching.