What Does Acid Reflux (GERD) Feel Like?
The burning in your chest is the result of acid reflux, a phenomenon where stomach contents are forced back up into the oesophaguses, the pipe where food travels to the stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic. For some people, an occasional over-the-counter medication is sufficient to relieve symptoms, such as heartburn. Your doctor may suggest that you at first take a nonprescription medication; if symptoms persist after two weeks, he or she may then recommend a prescription medication.
Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test. A monitor is placed in your esophagus to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid regurgitates there. The monitor connects to a small computer that you wear around your waist or with a strap over your shoulder. The monitor might be a thin, flexible tube (catheter) that’s threaded through your nose into your esophagus, or a clip that’s placed in your esophagus during an endoscopy and that gets passed into your stool after about two days.
For most people, the use of PPIs is generally considered safe and effective. In fact, some experts believe the risks associated with PPIs are very small, while others are more cautious. However, many people can treat heartburn successfully with lifestyles changes alone, so experts encourage trying that first.
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You may also be asked to swallow a barium pill that can help diagnose a narrowing of the esophagus that may interfere with swallowing. Your doctor might be able to diagnose GERD based on a physical examination and history of your signs and symptoms. An endoscopy procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube (endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus. A tiny camera on the end of the endoscope lets your doctor examine your esophagus, stomach and the beginning of your small intestine (duodenum). Be sure to follow the directions on the label so you donâ€™t overdose or overuse antacids.
What causes heartburn?
The lining of the esophagus does not share these resistant features and stomach acid can damage it. Acid reflux can be aggravated by many different things, including lifestyle, medication, diet, pregnancy, weight gain, and certain medical conditions. If your heartburn symptoms persist even after taking these drugs, then talk to a health care professional. They can heal the esophageal lining in most people with GERD. Doctors often prescribe PPIs for long-term GERD treatment.
Sucralfate (Carafate) coats mucous membranes and sores to provide an additional protective barrier against stomach acid. They block the production of an enzyme needed to produce stomach acid. If self-care and treatment with nonprescription medication does not work, your health-care professional likely will prescribe one of a class of stronger antacids.
- These can increase your risk of certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, kidney disease, and dementia.
- These medications – known as H-2-receptor blockers – include cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and ranitidine (Zantac).
- It has not been proven that PPI use causes chronic kidney disease, but some studies suggest there is an increased risk of chronic kidney disease in individuals who have normal kidney function before using a PPI.
- Many people find their symptoms improve greatly if they change their lifestyle.
- Medications to reduce acid production.
- Certain prescription-strength medications, such as prescription PPIs, can also help heal damage to the esophagus caused by acid reflux.
If you think you might have GERD, contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Available as a liquid or a chewable tablet, an antacid, when taken after meals, can neutralize stomach acid quickly and relieve heartburn symptoms.
Your doctor will ask you to describe your reflux symptoms and the length of time you have had them and review the need for prescribing you acid-suppressant medication. Should you require such medication long term or the treatment is not working, your GP is likely to request a gastroscopy. This will ensure there are no underlying problems with your oesophagus or stomach.
Before taking any antacids or PPIs, you should talk to your healthcare provider. There may be limitations on what you can take and how often you should take it, especially if you are on dialysis.
People with a hiatal hernia may be more likely to have acid reflux. Find out why. A growing body of research shows that your weight can have a significant impact on acid reflux and related symptoms. Both histamine blockers and PPIs began as prescription remedies but are now available over the counter, which leaves doctor-prescribed options relatively limited.
You receive sedation then a flexible probe with a tiny camera on the end is passed down your throat. The camera allows the doctor to see damage to the esophagus, how severe the GERD is, and to rule out serious complications of GERD or unexpected diseases.
For example, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol can all make a big difference to the discomfort you experience. Some foods are more likely than others to trigger reflux symptoms so you may find it helpful to look at how you eat as well as what you eat.