One of the small part of the body that is functional during the digestion process is the lower espohageal sphincter (LES). This LES is a ring of muscle present at the entrance of stomach as a valve. In the normal condition, the LES closes as soon as the food passes through it.
But in case if it (LES) remains opens or is not closed properly or frequently opens, the acid which is generated by the stomach may moves up into the esophagus. This condition may results in a heartburn, which is actually a burning chest discomfort. Moreover, if the acid reflx occurs more than twice a week, then the person is facing the acid reflux disease, which is also known as ”gastrophageal reflux disease (GERD)”.
Causes of the Acid Reflux Disease
- Obesity or being overweight.
- Unhealthy lifestyle, and lack pf physical exercise.
- Eating large meals at once.
- Lying back or lying down right after a meal.
- Eating close to bedtime.
- Consuming certain foods like tomato, garlic, onions, citrus, mint, or fatty, and spicy one.
- Delayed stomach emptying.
- Frequent consumption of tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and other beverages.
- During pregnancy.
- Overthinking, anxiety, depression, mental stress, or even by taking certain medications of blood pressure, muscle relaxers, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
- Additionally, hiatal harnia can also be the common cause of acidity. It is a kind of stomach abnormality where the upper part of stomach and LES moves the above the diaphragm ( muscle that separates chest and stomach). The role of diaphragm is to maintain the acid in the stomach but in this condition (hiatal hernia)acid move up to esophagus and thus creates the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease
The most common symptoms of acid reflux are regurgitation and a heartburn.
- Reurgitation: a bitter or sour -tasting acid that gets back up into your throat or mouth.
- Heartburn: its a kind or discomfort or burning pain that can be feel right from the stomach to abdomen or chest and moving to the throat or mouth.
- Frequent burping.
- Chest pain.
- Bad breathe or taste in the mouth.
- Frequent hiccups.
- Dysphagia – a feeling that some amount of food being stuck in the throat.
- Dry cough, wheezing, hoarseness, or sore throat.
Reason for the occurrence of acid reflux
The role of stomach is to help in break down of food, it (stomach) contains hydrochloric acid that is strong acid and play crucial role in break down of food and protecting against harmful microorganisms such as bacteria. The walls or the lining of the stomach is adapted to make itself safe from this strong acid, however esophagus is not on this safety mode or not have such protection.
Now, the gastrophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle acts a valve and allow the food to get into the stomach but not back to the esophagus. But when this system does not function properly and the valve of the sphincter fails to work, the food regurgitates back into the esophagus and it causes the acid reflux.
In this condition, the unprotected linings of the esophagus from the hydrochloric acid makes the person feels the burning sensation in that part (esophagus) and this acid when rises up the heartburn occurs.
A healthcare professional will check your medical history and will perform a physical examination to observe the symptoms. If the conditions are alarming or severe they may refer the patient to the gastroenterologist and may ask for few tests, such as
Ambulatory 24-hour pH probe: A person is given a tube to wear it for 24 hours, where that tube is inserted from the nose into the esophagus under the medical professionals. A pH sensor is attached to the tip of this tube that monitors the level of acid exposed into the esophagus and this data is been send to the portable computer to enter the recordings.
Esophagram: An X-ray imaging is used to check your upper digestive tract, after giving the patient to drink the barium solution.
Upper endoscopy: A tissue sample is collected of the esophagus by inserting a flexible tube attached with a micro camera and is threaded into the esophagus to examine the part.
Esophageal pH monitoring: With the help of monitor, that is inserted into the esophagus under the medical professional, is helpful in examining and observing the level of the acid that is regulated in the body and parts such as esophagus and is left over for a few days.
Esophageal manometry: To measure the strength the esophageal muscles, a flexible tube is passed from the nose to esophagus.
After all the observation and analysis the doctor will decide the level of treatment that can be be best suited for your body and will plan accordingly.