Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle, a ring muscle which acts as a valve, at the lower end of your esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Frequent or constant reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Acid reflux can occur at any age and it has many causes. Being obese and overweight, snacking before bedtime and eating large meals before sleeping or lying down, can all cause acid reflux. There are certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods that can enhance the occurrence of acid reflux. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which can occur in people of any age. A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES (lower esophageal sphincter) move above the diaphragm. As the stomach gets trapped into a higher position than its normal position, it becomes easier for stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus and cause acid reflux.
Anyone can develop GERD at any age, but the risk increases with age. You are more likely to have acid reflux if you are a smoker or a regular exposed to second-hand smoke and in some cases taking certain medications for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies; as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants can cause acid reflux.
When ring muscle fails, and stomach contents are regurgitated into the esophagus, the symptoms of acid reflux are felt. A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which might be worse at night is a common symptom for acid reflux, in addition to indigestion (discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen), chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and sensation of a lump in your throat. Other symptoms for acid reflux can be bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting, dysphagia (the sensation of food being stuck in your throat), hiccups that don't let up, nausea, weight loss for no known reason, wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat.
** regurgitation: a sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat or mouth
Acid reflux treatment differs depending on the cause. Common digestion treatment in Dubai are antacids that neutralize stomach acid, medications to reduce acid production, medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus. Heartburn treatment in Dubai can be achieved by changing lifestyle, not eating food that leads to acid reflux, do not eat before bedtime, decrease food portions. In case acid reflux is caused by hiatal hernia, medications would not be a good solution, since we are treating the symptoms and not the disease. Hiatal hernia can be treated surgically by repositioning the stomach in its normal place and closing the defect. In some cases, a mesh is placed over the defect to decrease recurrence rate.
Dr. Ali Al Dameh is an expert in performing surgery for reflux disease, as well as laparoscopic and open hernia repair. His major interests include GERD, hiatal hernia repair.
Dr. Ali Al Dameh performed during his career: