What is Acid Reflux?
At the bottom of the oesophagus is a ring of muscle known as the oesophageal sphincter. Normally the sphincter protects the oesophagus from the contents of the stomach by acting as a valve. It relaxes while swallowing, to allow food to pass through and tightens to prevent flow in the opposite direction.
Acid reflux is caused when the muscle relaxes between swallows or doesn’t close all the way, allowing the stomach contents and acid to flow back up, causing chest pain, an unpleasant taste in the back of the mouth and damage to the lining of the oesophagus.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition experienced by many who face acid reflux more than twice a week. While for some it is an occasional nuisance for others it can be a severe life-long problem. The condition usually occurs as the oesophageal sphincter weakens, unable to tighten and close as required, and can be controlled with medication.
The main symptoms of this condition are experiencing heartburn and regurgitation of stomach contents and acid into the oesophagus.
Heart is an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest. It is usually felt behind the chest bone but can spread to the throat for some people, resulting in a bitter taste. It is usually worse after eating, while bending or just lying down.
When acid and other stomach contents are regurgitated into your throat and mouth, causing an unpleasant sour taste at the back of the bouth.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease can present with further symptoms;- Sore, inflamed oesophagus
- Bad breath
- Feeling or being sick
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Persistent cough or wheezing, which is worse at night
- Tooth decay/gum disease
Acid reflux can be quite a nuisance. There are no specific causes for the oesophagal sphincter muscle to weaken and malfunction, it can come about due to a combination of factors. This test can determine if there is unusual acid build up due to an infection when simple measures such as keeping your weight down, avoiding large meals and alcohol are not enough to manage the condition.