Gastroesophageal Reflux: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Gastroesophageal Reflux is a digestive disease in which the acids present inside the stomach go back through the esophagus instead of following the normal flow of digestion. This movement is known as reflux and it irritates the tissues lining the esophagus, causing the typical symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux . Also, have you ever had that not-so-pleasant burning sensation in your stomach? Or have you ever felt uncomfortable when you realize that you have some liquid going to your mouth and back in the abdomen region?

These can be two of the symptoms that identify reflux . Although many people present this condition and live with the annoyance daily, it is possible (and recommended) to treat the disorder to ensure a better quality of life.

Main Symptoms: A person diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux may have the feeling that food has become stuck in the throat and may feel the signs of the disease increase when bending over, leaning forward, lying down or eating. Symptoms are also often worse at night and can be relieved with antacids. Other symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain;
  • heartburn ;
  • Irritation, hoarseness and sore throat ;
  • Regurgitation of liquids (gastric juice);
  • Nausea (especially after meals);
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • dry cough .

Where Does This Annoyance Come From:  Basically, it is possible to say that reflux occurs due to a decrease in the body’s own defense mechanisms. We can mention the decrease in propulsive movements of the esophagus, weakness of the lower esophageal musculature and change in the anatomy of the organ, caused, for example, by hiatal hernia.

To facilitate understanding, imagine the scene: when consuming a certain food, the natural path taken by it involves, respectively, the mouth, larynx, esophagus and stomach. Between the last two organs there is a valve that opens for food to pass through, and it closes immediately to prevent gastric juice from leaving the stomach and accessing the esophagus. The big problem arises when some weakness in this region makes it easier for acidic fluid to penetrate other organs, characterizing reflux . It is worth mentioning that gastric juice can reach the mouth and cause dental problems and even bad breath , but it can also go up the esophagus and compromise the larynx and lungs.

To Diagnose:  Did you eat any ingredients and get heartburn? This situation can be a strong indication that you have reflux, as heartburn is one of the most classic symptoms of this disorder. To confirm the diagnosis, it is essential to consult a specialist – such as an endoscopist or gastroenterologist -, who may request tests, such as:

Endoscopy:   Quite common to detect diseases in the digestive tract, it consists of inserting a device (endoscope) through the mouth, which will capture images of the esophagus, stomach, intestine and duodenum, in order to evaluate possible changes in these regions. It is important to remember that the patient will be sedated, so the procedure is painless.

Digestive System X-ray:  Chances are you’ve already had an X-ray of some part of your body, right? The concept is the same for the digestive system, being indicated to diagnose problems such as reflux and gastritis.

Esophageal Manometry: Made from a probe, manometry lasts about 15 minutes and is responsible for observing the functioning of the entire esophagus. To be performed, the patient ingests a liquid to analyze if the organ is working correctly.

It’s Possible to Live Well:  The good news about reflux is that it is a treatable problem, that is, after confirming the diagnosis, it is possible to fight it. In medical terms, this disease can be treated through surgery or medication, and the clinical treatment consists of the administration of drugs that reduce the production of acids by the stomach, improving the general condition of the esophagus.

Surgery aims to make a valve in the esophagus region to prevent reflux from occurring. Another way to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder is to control food, since acidic ingredients, alcoholic and carbonated drinks, in addition to fatty foods can worsen the condition. In other words, balanced meals full of natural ingredients are healthy and help to protect gastrointestinal health.

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