Acid reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Acid reflux can affect even the simplest activities in daily life. Disruptions to eating, sleeping, and exercise are just some of the ways recurring acid reflux makes itself known. Often, this is experienced as frequent heartburn. More importantly, continued damage to the esophagus from acid reflux can lead to bleeding, scarring, ulcers, and even cancer.
If you experience frequent heartburn, contact the doctors at our Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute to learn the steps to take to get relief.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
The process of digestion begins in the mouth with saliva. Food is broken down and then carried to the stomach through the esophagus. The stomach and esophagus are connected by the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), which opens and closes to allow food to pass into the stomach and keeps that food and stomach acid down. Acid reflux occurs when the LES is weakened and can no longer adequately control the separation of the stomach and esophagus, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus and cause discomfort.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Most frequently, acid reflux is felt as persistent heartburn. This burning feeling in the chest usually begins after eating and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The involuntary return of incompletely digested food into the mouth, called regurgitation, is another common complaint.
Other symptoms of acid reflux include:
- A feeling of food sticking in the throat or mouth
- Painful or difficult swallowing
- An acidic taste in the back of the throat
- A sore throat, hoarseness, or a chronic cough
- Persistent belching
- Bad breath
- Excessive mouthwatering
- Inflammation of gums
- The erosion of tooth enamel