Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

General Infomation
Definition: 

Acid Reflux Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Acid reflux is also referred as bile reflux. It occurs when bile — a digestive fluid produced in the liver — flows upward from your small intestine into your stomach and esophagus. It is the back flow of stomach acids into your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach.

Acid or bile reflux can have serious consequences, inflaming the lining of your esophagus and potentially increasing your risk of esophageal cancer. Bile reflux also affects your stomach, where it can cause further inflammation.

Symptoms: 

Acid reflux or bile reflux inflames the stomach, often causing a burning pain in the upper abdomen.

Signs And Symptoms of Acid or Bile reflux:

• Upper abdominal pain that may be severe
• Frequent heartburn — a burning sensation in your chest that sometimes spreads to your throat along with a sour taste in your mouth
• Nausea
• Vomiting bile
• Occasionally, a cough or hoarseness
• Unintended weight loss

Causes & Complication
Causes: 

Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid that's essential for digesting fats and for eliminating worn-out red blood cells and certain toxins from your body. It's produced in your liver and stored in your gallbladder in a highly concentrated form.

Eating a meal that contains even a modest amount of fat signals your gallbladder to release bile, which flows through two small tubes (cystic duct and common bile duct) into the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum).

Causes of acid or bile reflux?

Weak Sphincter Muscles. These are muscles located at the start of the stomach. They should tightly close down the stomach to prevent food from going back to the throat after being swallowed especially when laying down or sleeping.
Gastric surgery complications. Most damage to the pyloric valve occurs as a complication of gastric surgery, including total removal of the stomach (gastrectomy) and gastric bypass operations for weight loss.
Peptic ulcers. Sometimes a peptic ulcer can block the pyloric valve. Rather than not closing tightly, the valve doesn't open enough to allow the stomach to empty as quickly as it should. The stagnant food and liquid in the stomach can lead to increased gastric pressure that causes refluxed bile and stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.
Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy). People who have had their gallbladders removed have significantly more bile reflux than do people who haven't had this surgery.
Prescription medications.
Injury.

Complications: 

Bile reflux and acid reflux can seriously damage esophageal tissue. And although bile reflux can injure the esophagus on its own, the combination of bile and acid reflux seems to be particularly harmful, increasing the risk of complications, such as:

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Occasional heartburn usually isn't a concern, although a severe episode can mimic a heart attack. But frequent or constant heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a potentially serious problem that causes irritation and inflammation of esophageal tissue (esophagitis).

Esophageal narrowing (stricture). Repeated exposure to stomach acid, bile or both can cause scar tissue to form in the lower esophagus. This narrows the tube, interfering with swallowing and increasing the risk of choking.

Barrett's esophagus. In this serious condition, long-term exposure to stomach acid or a combination of acid and bile causes malignancy.

Esophageal cancer. This serious form of cancer can occur almost anywhere along the length of the esophagus, and it may not be diagnosed until it's quite advanced. In animal studies, bile reflux alone has been shown to cause cancer of the esophagus.

Gastritis. In addition to causing irritation and inflammation in the esophagus, bile reflux can cause stomach irritation (gastritis). Although not always serious, untreated gastritis can lead to stomach ulcers and to bleeding, a potentially life-threatening problem that requires immediate medical care. Chronic gastritis can also increase the risk of stomach cancer.

Tests
Tests and Diagnosis: 

Endoscopy. In this test, your doctor passes a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat. The endoscope can show ulcerations or inflammation in your stomach or esophagus and can reveal a peptic ulcer. The test, technically called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), also allows your doctor to take tissue samples to test for Barrett's esophagus — a condition in which cells in the esophagus undergo precancerous changes — or esophageal cancer, two potential complications of acid and bile reflux.

Ambulatory acid tests. These tests use an acid-measuring probe to identify when, and for how long, acid refluxes into your esophagus. Because these tests look for the presence of acid, they're useful for diagnosing acid reflux. Ambulatory acid tests are negative in people with bile reflux.

Esophageal impedance. Rather than measuring acid, this test can measure whether gas or liquids reflux into the esophagus. It's helpful for people who have regurgitation of substances that aren't acidic and therefore wouldn't be detected by a pH probe. As in a standard probe test, esophageal impedance uses a probe that's placed into the esophagus with a catheter.

Medication & Prevention
Treatments and Drugs: 

Hospital treatment is not curative. It entails management drugs for life such as ursodeoxycholic acid or diversionary and anti-reflux surgeries which in most cases are not successful.

Our treatment approach however, has yielded the best success rate. Diet counseling and treatment of weak sphincter muscles which does not close well to prevent back flow of acid is what is required and it takes a very short period of 1 month.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies: 

These lifestyle remedies are temporary as you prepare to visit us for permanent treatment. They will help you in reducing the suffering.

Stop smoking. When it comes to acid reflux, smoking is a double threat: It increases the production of stomach acid, and it dries up saliva, which normally helps protect the esophagus.
Eat smaller meals. Eating smaller, more frequent meals reduces pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, helping to prevent the valve from opening at the wrong time.
Stay upright after eating. After a meal, waiting at least two to three hours before taking a nap or going to bed allows time for your stomach to empty.
Limit fatty foods. High-fat meals relax the lower esophageal sphincter and slow the rate at which food leaves your stomach.
Avoid aggravating foods and beverages. Although the same foods don't trouble everyone, the worst offenders for most people include caffeinated and carbonated drinks, chocolate, citrus foods and juices, vinegar-based dressings, onions, spicy foods, and mint because they increase the production of stomach acid and may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
Limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and irritates the esophagus.
Lose excess weight. Heartburn and acid reflux are more likely to occur when excess weight puts added pressure on your stomach.
Raise your bed. Raise the head of your bed by about four to six inches. The incline may help prevent reflux symptoms. You can either sleep on a foam wedge or elevate the head of your bed with blocks. Pillows usually aren't an effective way to elevate your upper body while sleeping.
Relax. When you're under stress, digestion slows, which may worsen reflux symptoms. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga may help.


By Anonymous on 25 April 2011