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Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when gastric acid comes in contact with the esophagus wall, causing burning and discomfort. The passage of acid from the stomach to the esophagus occurs throughout the day, especially after eating. This is a relatively common disease and can lead to complications such as esophageal cancer, ulcers, and bleeding.

What is a reflux disease?

The movement of stomach contents back into the esophagus is referred to as reflux disease. The reflux of the acid back into the esophagus is a normal phenomenon, but issues arise when there is injury to the esophagus. 

Etiology

Problems with the muscle that separates the stomach and esophagus (sphincter) are the most common cause of developing GERD. However, several other factors cause or contribute to the development of GERD. These include:

  • Hiatal hernias, where the lower esophageal sphincter is in the wrong position
  • Delayed gastric emptying (digestion) causes an increase in stomach contents, leading to increased esophageal reflux.
  • Obesity can lead to increased intra-abdominal pressure, which promotes reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus.
  • Problems with the esophagus’ ability to counteract acid so even a small amount of acid is sufficient to cause esophageal damage.

Pathophysiology

There are multiple conditions that can lead to GERD. In all cases, there is too much acid in the esophagus. This excess acid causes damage to the lower part of the esophagus.

Complications

Some common complications of GERD are:

  • Reflux esophagitis: the acid coming back into the esophagus causes changes in the esophagus itself. This results in the formation of ulcers that bleed and may cause black-colored stools or bright red blood in vomit
  • Barret esophagus: changes in the lining of the esophagus that can be pre-cancerous
  • Esophageal stricture: a constriction in the esophagus
  • Esophageal cancer: repeated stress to the esophagus results in the formation of cancer.

Treatment Plan 

GERD can frequently be handled through lifestyle adjustments. Weight reduction, regular exercise, avoidance of fatty meals and meals just before bedtime, and elevating the head during sleep can help improve GERD symptoms.

Medications used to treat GERD include: 

  • H2 receptor antagonists, such as famotidine.
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole 
  • Antacids, such as aluminum hydroxide

Surgical treatment is used only when a patient is non-responsive to medical therapy and lifestyle modifications.

Facial abrasions and considered more serious as these have a higher risk of cicatrization and should be cleaned,debrided, and dressed daily. Dressings may require skin adhesives like the combination of gum mastic, styrax, alcohol, and methyl salicylate or tincture of benzoin.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

If you experience acidity and burning in the chest region, you should see a medical provider in order to avoid possible serious complications. 

Treatment for GERD is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.