What Is Acid Reflux Disease?

Medical concept photo of doctor diagnosing Acid Reflux

Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a chronic digestive condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn, coughing, and discomfort.

Acid Reflux Symptoms

The symptoms of acid reflux disease can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include:

  • Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest that can spread to the neck, throat, or jaw.
  • Chest pain: A sharp or burning pain in the chest that can be mistaken for a heart attack.
  • Coughing: A persistent cough that is worse at night or after eating.
  • Hoarseness: A change in the voice, becoming husky or raspy.
  • Difficulty swallowing: A feeling that food is stuck in the throat or chest.
  • Sour taste in the mouth: A taste of acidic or bitter fluid in the mouth.

What Causes Acid Reflux Disease?

Acid reflux disease occurs when stomach acid leaks back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Some common acid reflux causes include:

  • Lifestyle factors: Eating large or fatty meals, lying down after eating, and being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing acid reflux disease.
  • Hiatal hernia: A condition in which a portion of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm into the chest, leading to acid reflux.
  • Gastroesophageal sphincter muscle weakness: The muscle at the end of the esophagus that opens and closes to allow food into the stomach can become weakened, allowing acid to leak back into the esophagus.
  • Certain medications: Aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, and blood pressure medications can relax the muscle at the end of the esophagus and lead to acid reflux.
  • Smoking: Nicotine can weaken the muscle at the end of the esophagus and cause acid reflux.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about the causes of your acid reflux disease, as well as any underlying health conditions or lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. Your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your acid reflux disease and reduce your risk of developing more serious complications.

How We Diagnose Acid Reflux

Acid reflux disease is typically diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, medical history, and test results. The following tests and procedures may be used to diagnose acid reflux disease:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam to check for any signs of acid reflux disease.
  • Medical history: Your doctor will ask about your medical history, including any previous surgeries, medications, and lifestyle habits that may be contributing to your symptoms.
  • pH test: A pH test measures the amount of acid in your esophagus over a 24-hour period to determine if acid reflux is the cause of your symptoms.
  • Endoscopy: An endoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light is passed down your throat to visualize the inside of your esophagus and check for any damage or other signs of acid reflux disease.
  • Barium swallow test: A barium swallow test involves drinking a chalky liquid that coats the inside of your esophagus, allowing X-rays to be taken to check for any structural abnormalities that may be causing your symptoms.

Why Should You Come to Indianapolis Sinus Center?

Indianapolis Sinus Center is a leading medical facility that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sinus and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions, including acid reflux disease. Our team of experienced healthcare professionals and specialists use the latest technology and treatment options to provide personalized, compassionate care for our patients. We are committed to providing the highest quality medical care and helping patients achieve acid reflux relief.

Contact Indianapolis Sinus Center

Contact Indianapolis Sinus Center today to schedule a consultation for effective treatment of your acid reflux symptoms.