Acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn, is a prevalent condition that can affect anyone regardless of age and gender. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close tightly, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. While occasional heartburn is normal, experiencing it frequently can be a cause for concern. It may be a sign of a more severe condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). So, when should you consider acid reflux treatment? Keep reading to learn the signs to look out for and the available treatment options.
If you experience heartburn more than twice a week, it’s time to consider acid reflux treatment. Ignoring it can lead to more severe complications such as esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, and even esophageal cancer. Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce acid production in the stomach. If these medications don't work, you may need to undergo more invasive procedures like surgery.
Another sign that it's time to consider acid reflux treatment is when you experience difficulty swallowing your food or pills. This symptom is known as dysphagia and is caused by the inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus due to chronic acid reflux. Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy or barium swallow test to determine the severity of the condition. Treatment options may include medications, stretching of the esophagus, or surgery.
Chronic Cough or Sore Throat
Chronic cough, sore throat, and hoarseness of voice can also be signs of acid reflux. When the stomach acid flows back into the throat, it irritates the lining, causing inflammation and discomfort. Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the acidity in your stomach or relieve the inflammation in your throat. If medication does not work, they may suggest a lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
Acid reflux symptoms tend to worsen at night, making it difficult for sufferers to fall asleep and resulting in poor sleep quality. It can also cause sleep apnea, a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding eating before bedtime or sleeping with more pillows to elevate your head. They may also prescribe medication for nighttime symptoms.
Ignoring acid reflux symptoms can lead to complications, so it's essential to seek treatment when needed. Reach out to your doctor for more information about acid reflux treatment.Share