Gastroesophageal Reflux

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux is a digestive disorder that causes many people to suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion. Heartburn can be treated through lifestyle changes most of the time, but may require medication or even surgery.

What are the symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux?

There are many symptoms that occur because of gastroesophageal reflux. These symptoms may include: frequent heartburn; hoarseness; laryngitis; nausea; sore throat; chronic dry cough; asthma; feeling like there is a lump in your throat; bad breath; earaches; chest pain; or regurgitation. Infants and children may also experience recurrent vomiting, coughing, breathing problems, and a failure to thrive.

What Causes Gastroesophageal Reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter has an abnormality or weakens allowing stomach acid to enter into your esophagus.

What Increases My Risk of Developing Gastroesophageal Reflux?

There are many different factors that can increase your risk of gastroesophageal reflux. Some of these factors are controllable while others are not.

These include:

  • obesity
  • hiatal hernia
  • pregnancy; asthma
  • diabetes
  • peptic ulcer
  • delayed stomach emptying
  • connective tissue disorder
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

How is Gastroesophageal Reflux Diagnosed?

Gastroesophageal reflux can be diagnosed after conducting a series of tests. Common tests that are used in the process of diagnosing gastroesophageal reflux are barium X-rays, Endoscopies, and ambulatory acid probe tests.

How Gastroesophageal Reflux Treated?

Gastroesophageal reflux can be treated by changing your lifestyle, medications, and surgery. Common types of medications are: antacids; H-2 receptor blockers; proton pump inhibitors; prescription-strength H-2 receptor blockers; prescription-strength proton pump inhibitors; and prokinetic agents.Surgeries may be performed if you cannot tolerate the medication or if you have: a large hiatal hernia; severe esophagitis; recurrent narrowing of the esophagus; Barrett’s esophagus; or severe pulmonary problems.

Medications for Gastroesophageal Reflux

Common medications used to treat gastroesophageal reflux are: