What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is when acid from the stomach leaks back up the oesophagus (food pipe) towards the throat. This can lead heartburn and other symptoms.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
- Heartburn – burning feeling in the middle of your chest
- Unpleasant, sour taste in your throat and/or mouth and possibly bad breath.
- Feeling bloated and needing to burp
What causes acid reflux?
Many factors can cause acid reflux. The most typical way is due to valve (the sphincter muscle) at the end of the food pipe not working very well. The valve prevents acid leaking up and when it weakens the acid from the stomach can escape up the food pipe. In some cases a rise in pressure in the stomach causes the valve to open. This can happen in pregnancy or by being overweight.
Other causes include:
How can acid reflux be treated?
Usually the treatment of acid reflux would be with an acid-suppressing medicine such as histamine receptor blockers (H2 blockers) or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Initially, a course of one month may be recommended by a clinician, which can allow the acid production to reduce and let the sphincter valve settle. If symptoms persist, it may be advised by a clinician to take acid suppressing medicine for a longer period of time.