Digestion & Digestive Health - Heart Burn Acid Reflux Symptoms, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Heart Burn & Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERDheart burn

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also called heartburn, acid reflux or acid regurgitation occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens spontaneously, for varying periods of time, or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. GER is also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation, because digestive juices—called acids—rise up with the food. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.

When acid reflux occurs, food or fluid can be tasted in the back of the mouth. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus it may cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn or acid indigestion. Occasional Gastric Esophageal Reflux (GER) is common and does not necessarily mean one has Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD. Persistent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. People of all ages can have GERD. GERD, is a condition in which heartburn is a symptom. Stomach acid refluxes up into esophagus and causes pain. This pain can be felt as a burning sensation behind the sternum or breastbone, either as a spasm or a sharp pain. Many times the pain of acid reflux can be mistaken for the pain of a heart attack.

The pain of acid reflux heart-burn can remain in the lower chest or it can radiate to the back of the throat and be associated with waterbrash, a sour taste in the back of the throat. If there is acid reflux near the larynx (voicebox) in the throat, it may cause coughing episodes or hoarseness. Reflux over prolonged periods of time can be severe enough that acid wears away the enamel on teeth and causes decay.

Heart Burn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms are often worsened after heavy meals,leaning forward, or lying flat. Those affected may often awaken from sleep with heartburn.

Gastric Esophageal Reflux and Heartburn in Children, Adolescents and infants

Distinguishing between normal, physiologic reflux and GERD in children is important. Most infants with Gastric Esophageal Reflux (GER) are happy and healthy even if they frequently spit up or vomit, and babies usually outgrow GER by their first birthday. Reflux that continues past 1 year of age may be GERD. Studies show GERD is common and may be overlooked in infants and children. For example, GERD can present as repeated regurgitation, nausea, heartburn, coughing, laryngitis, or respiratory problems like wheezing, asthma, or pneumonia. Infants and young children may demonstrate irritability or arching of the back, often during or immediately after feedings. Infants with GERD may refuse to feed and experience poor growth.

Talk with your child’s health care provider if heartburn acid reflux-related symptoms occur regularly and cause your child discomfort. Your health care provider may recommend simple strategies for avoiding reflux, such as burping the infant several times during feeding or keeping the infant in an upright position for 30 minutes after feeding. If your child is older, your health care provider may recommend that your child eat small, frequent meals and avoid the following foods:

•sodas that contain caffeine
•spicy foods
•acidic foods like oranges, tomatoes, and pizza
•fried and fatty foods
Avoiding food 2 to 3 hours before bed may also help. Your health care provider may recommend raising the head of your child’s bed with wood blocks secured under the bedposts. Just using extra pillows will not help. If these changes do not work, your health care provider may prescribe medicine for your child. In rare cases, a child may need surgery. For information about GER in infants, children, and adolescents,

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Complications

Heartburn is not without complications. If ignored, recurrent irritation and inflammation of the esophagus can lead to ulcers, which are small areas of tissue breakdown. These can cause serious bleeding. Scarring and stricture are other significant complications of GERD. Changes in the type of cells lining the esophagus may result from acid reflux, causing a condition known as Barrett's esophagus, which is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Read more about GER, Gerd - Heartburn Acid Reflux Symptoms, Causes-Acid Reflux & Treatment

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