Reflux: Causes, diagnosis, Treatment

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Reflux (Symptom)

Reflux: Description

Reflux is an abnormal backflow of fluid in a body passage due to failure of the passage’s exit to close fully. A common type of reflux is regurgitation of acid fluid from the stomach. It is also sometimes known as acid reflux, Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

GERD is regurgitation of acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus due to inefficiency of the muscular valve at the lower end of the oesophagus. GERD may inflame the esophagus, resulting in heartburn due to oesophagitis. It may occur in pregnancy and often affects overweight people.

Reflux: Causes

GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus, including abnormal relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed; impaired expulsion of gastric reflux from the oesophagus, or a hiatal hernia. These changes may be permanent or temporary (transient).

The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea. Complications of GERD include ulcers and strictures of the oesophagus, Barretts oesophagus, cough and asthma, throat and laryngeal inflammation, inflammation and infection of the lungs, and collection of fluid in the sinuses and middle ear.

Reflux: Treatment and Diagnosis

GERD may be diagnosed or evaluated by a trial of treatment, endoscopy, biopsy, X-ray, examination of the throat and larynx, 24 hour oesophageal acid testing, oesophageal motility testing, emptying studies of the stomach, and oesophageal acid perfusion. GERD is treated with life-style changes, antacids, histamine antagonists (H2 blockers), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), pro-motility drugs, foam barriers, surgery, and endoscopy.