Acid reflux is a common gastric disorder that is typically characterised by a burning pain (heartburn) in the lower chest area. It happens when stomach contents (acids plus food) flows back up into the oesophagus.
Sign and Symptoms
Common symptoms of acid reflux are:
- Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting
- Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or a chronic sore throat
- Weight loss for no known reason
A hiatal hernia is one of the most common causes of acid reflux disease. This occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter and the upper part of the stomach move above the diaphragm. In normal circumstances, the diaphragm helps keep acid in the stomach. But if you’ve got a hiatal hernia, the stomach contents can move up into your food pipe and cause typical symptoms of acid reflux disease.
You are advised to consult a gastroenterologist if you have acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation for two or more weeks or if medications don’t bring lasting relief. Your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis. You may need one or more tests including:
- Oesophageal manometry
- Barium swallow
- Endoscopy and biopsy
- pH monitoring
The main treatment options for acid reflux are:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- H2 blockers
- Alginate drugs