Acid reflux is made up of chronic symptoms and / or mucosal damage that are caused by the abnormal reflux of stomach contents, namely the powerful stomach acid. When the gastric contents are expelled into the esophagus, this creates discomfort, pain and possibly lasting tissue damage.
Sometimes acid reflux is a physical problem, where the lower esophageal sphincter does not effectively contain the contents of the stomach, and some cases where a hiatal hernia is a factor.
The most common symptom and complaint of those suffering from acid reflux is heartburn, which feels like a burning, stinging or even ripping type of pain around the breastbone area. Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing and changes in mucosal linings of the throat. In extreme cases sufferers may develop esophageal ulcers or scarring.
In order to diagnose the condition, patients may be given a barium mixture to drink. This will help show the structure of the esophagus, sphincters and stomach in order to determine a good course of treatment.
Sometimes endoscopy is used to better examine the esophagus, stomach and relating portions of the body. The patient will usually be sedated...