Acid Reflux is heartburn. It is extremely common, and can cause a lot of ongoing problems for many people.
People with Acid Reflux may experience:
Acidy, brash taste in the mouth
Intolerance of spicy, rich, fatty foods
Coughing at night
A cough that pretends to be Asthma
Unexplained, chronic throat irritation
Worsening heartburn when lying down
Bleeding in the food pipe, the esophagus
Why is Acid Reflux so common? Our lifestyles seem to be set up for having chronic heartburn. Some of the contributing factors are:
Eating on the go, always in a rush
Skipping breakfast and having a large evening meal
Chewing gum all the time
Pain medications known as NSAIDS (eg., ibuprofen) and aspirin
People can get into trouble with Acid Reflux, with their Heartburn, if they allow it to continue without changing their lifestyle and without getting medication. With acid irritating tissues in the esophagus over time, people can develop scarring, bleeding, and in extreme cases, types of cancer, esophageal carcinoma.
The good news is that Acid Reflux is controllable. I must say, though, that even with medications, the problem tends to come and go for a long time, sometimes for life.
If problems persist, at some point doctors order an X-ray, known as an Upper GI Series, to see the extent of the problem. This also reveals whether a person has a hiatal hernia, which aggravates acid burning problems.
Another surprising and important development in treating ACID PROBLEMS is finding that people have a bug, a microbe, inside their guts called
It is known that this bug is a common cause of stomach ulcers. I have found that getting rid of this bug, with special antibiotic treatment, helps Heartburn/Acid Reflux patients a great deal. We can identify this bug even with a simple blood test.
With some intelligent lifestyle changes, and using the BEST medication available, Acid Reflux can be controlled and largely beaten.
Dr. Shafiq Qaadri is a Toronto family physician and Continuing Medical Education lecturer. www.doctorQ.ca