Acid Reflux FAQ
Acid Reflux is an uncomfortable and even painful burning sensation that creeps up your esophagus and into your throat. This is a common condition, affecting a great deal of people every day. Even while experiencing the discomfort, many people do not fully understand the cause of their acid reflux. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions that may help you overcome the daily occurrence of acid indigestion in Georgia.
What is Acid Reflux?
The esophageal sphincter is the muscle that separates the esophagus and the stomach. This valve is responsible for keeping stomach acid from traveling upward into the esophagus. During the process of digestion, the stomach produces gastric juices comprised of acids, including hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride. The cells of the stomach’s wall produce bicarbonate, which keeps these powerful acids from eating away at the lining of the stomach.
When the esophageal sphincter is weak, it cannot properly close to contain stomach acids. During and after the process of digestion, increased pressure in the stomach may cause these acids to travel upward into the esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation. This painful sensation is called heartburn, due to its location.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Most people experience acid reflux at some point or another. It is often caused by behaviors, such as eating late at night, just prior to lying flat on your back, as well as consuming highly acidic or spicy foods. A damaged, weakened, or underdeveloped esophageal sphincter is usually to blame in chronic cases of acid reflux.
What are the Long-term Effects of Acid Reflux?
Occasional heartburn is not a huge concern. However, if it is persistent and is left untreated, it could develop into Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD. Consistent reflux may lead to esophageal scarring. This leads to further complications, including difficulty swallowing as well as an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?
Symptoms include consistent pain the chest region, sore throat and dental erosion resulting from frequent regurgitation, dysphagia, and possibly asthma.