Acid Reflux Overview

Acid reflux is the most common gastrointestinal disorder; more than half of adults experience it at least once in their life. According to The American College of Gastroenterology, over 60 million Americans have acid reflux and heartburn once a month and 15 million face this daily.

If acid reflux occurs more than twice a week, the condition is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While reflux occurs mostly in people over 40 years of age, it can occur in children and infants too.

Acid reflux occurs when there is a reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. This reflux causes the classic symptoms of burning sensations in the upper chest and throat known as “heartburn,” along with regurgitation of food or fluid into the back of the throat and mouth. Less common symptoms include chronic cough, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing, all of which are signs of more severe GERD.

Treatment usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, weight loss, and if needed, medications that will lower the acidity in the stomach. Left untreated, chronic acid reflux can lead to esophagus changes, called Barrett’s esophagus, that increases your risk for esophageal cancer. Thus, it is important to be proactive when managing your heartburn.

In this section we will go over symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment options, and most importantly prevention methods.

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