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ACID REFLUX

Acid reflux is a disease of the lower oesophagus (foodpipe) and stomach.

Acid reflux, also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, GORD or GERD, is extremely common.

As many as one in five people experience Acid reflux symptoms at least once a week, and one in ten people have acid reflux symptoms every day.

Acid reflux involves inflammation and irritation of the lower oesophagus due to the reflux of food and gastric acid. Acid reflux is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates (backs up or refluxes) into the esophagus.

One of the most common signs of acid reflux is frequent, strong heartburn. A biopsy can reveal damage caused by acid reflux or infection and help rule out other problems.

Acid reflux may also occur in infants and children.

However, in this age group it is important to distinguish between the relatively rare occurrence of acid reflux, and the common and normal condition of 'physiological reflux'.

Some conditions associated with neurological impairments may also predispose your child to the development of acid reflux.

Without acid reflux treatment, the long-term damage to the oesophagus in acid reflux disease can lead to a number of complications.

One in ten patients with acid reflux, and in particular those with long-standing or severe acid reflux, will develop Barrett's oesophagus.

In infants and children, mild acid reflux symptoms usually resolve within the first 12 months of life.

With appropriate treatment of acid reflux, prognosis is excellent.

In acid reflux regurgitation of food and acid into the mouth gives a bitter, acid taste and occurs especially when lying flat or bending over.

Rarely, acid reflux may irritate the lungs, producing cough or symptoms of asthma at night. ChildrenSymptoms of acid reflux in infants and children tend to be quite different.

The diagnosis of acid reflux can often be made without investigation, especially in young patients with typical symptoms and without concerning features such as vomiting, weight loss or anaemia.

Common acid reflux investigations includea Barium swallow and meal.

Patients are given a special radio-labelled dye to swallow, and x-rays are then taken of the throat, oesophagus and stomach.

The dye allows visualisation of how the 'meal' moves into the stomach and if any acid reflux occurs.

The good news is that around half of acid reflux patients respond well to simple antacids and other general measures. Hopefully These agents might be enough to control your acid reflux symptoms.