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Reflux / Indigestion

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Understanding Reflux and Its Management 

What is Reflux? Reflux, commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn, is a condition where stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus (the food pipe), causing irritation and a burning sensation in the chest and sometimes the throat. This is often referred to as indigestion when symptoms are milder. 

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) Frequent acid reflux—occurring several times a week—might indicate a more serious condition known as Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD or GERD). Symptoms can extend beyond heartburn to include excessive burping, sore throat, hoarseness, and even coughing at night or in the early morning. 

Causes of Reflux 

  • Anatomical Factors: A common cause is a weakened or abnormally relaxing lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which normally keeps stomach acid from rising up. A hiatus hernia, where part of the stomach moves up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, can exacerbate this issue. 
  • Lifestyle Factors: Large meals, eating late at night, obesity, and pregnancy can increase the likelihood of reflux. Certain foods and habits, such as consuming fatty or spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking, are also risk factors. 

Preventing Reflux Managing reflux often involves lifestyle adjustments: 

  • Dietary Changes: Eat smaller meals, avoid eating late at night, and reduce intake of trigger foods. 
  • Weight Management: Losing weight can reduce pressure on the stomach and LES. 
  • Avoiding Stimulants: Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking. 

Common Treatments 

  • Antacids: Neutralize stomach acid and can coat the stomach to prevent acid rise. 
  • H2 Antagonists and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): These medications reduce or inhibit acid production in the stomach. 

Seeking Professional Advice Persistent heartburn or reflux should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out serious conditions and to determine the most appropriate treatment. 

Advertisement Compliance Reminder This blog serves an educational purpose and does not replace professional medical advice. It aims to provide general information on reflux and associated conditions without endorsing specific treatment products. 

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