SOPHAGEAL REFLUX –AN UNWANTED VISITOR

Author: 
Alábéré
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Once the act of mastication is justified by the oral cavity, then there is the passage of the chewed substances into the next conveyer (the alimentary canal) which performs the next important process Digestion.

In a normal digestion, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) paves way in order to allow the ingested food substances to gain entry into the stomach and also closes so as to prevent the uptake or backflow of food substances and gastric acid juices back into the oesophagus.

However, there may arise an abnormal situation whereby the LES is weak or inappropriately relaxes thereby causing the backflow of the gastric content back into the oesophagus. This condition is termed GASTRO ESOPHAGEAL REFLUX.

G.E.R.D may be severe and its severity depends on factors such as the dysfunction of L.E.S and also the type or amount of fluid that was reflux from the stomach coupled with the neutralizing effect of saliva.

HIATAL HERNIA
It is the believe of some doctors that the condition called hiatal hernia may cause Esophageal reflux. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up to the chest via the diaphragmatic hiatus (a small opening in the diaphragm). This may weaken the L.E.S and thereby increases the risk of gastro esophageal reflux. Factors such as emesis, coughing, straining, sudden physical exertion cause a great rise in the abdominal pressure thereby leading to hiatal hernia. Obesity and pregnancy may also lead to this condition.

Other factors that lead to G.E.R.D are:
1) Cigarette smoking
2) Pregnancy and obesity
3) Some foods such as beverages, peppermint, chocolate, fatty foods, coffee or alcoholic beverages.

SYMPTOM
The most common symptom of G.E.R.D is “heart burn.” When this happens, there is a burning chest pain sensation that begins behind the breast bone and migrates upward into the neck and throat. The pain due to heart burn can last for as long as 2hours and this may even be worse after eating. Bending over and lying down can improve the risk of heart burn. Relieve can be gotten by the use of antacid (which clears the acid out of the esophagus) or by standing upright.

TREATMENT OF G.E.R.D
Dietary changes.
Eating of dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
Avoidance of getting overweight
Abstinence from cigarette smoking
Use of antacids

For chronic G.E.R.D:
Use of H2 blockers which include: Ranitidin (zantac), Famotidine (pepcid),
Cimetidine(Tagamet) and Nizatidine (Axid).These agents will inhibit the secretion of gastric acid in the stomach.

Also, the use of proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole (Prilosec), Rabeprazole (Aciphex), Lansoprazole (prevacid), Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), Esomeprazole (Nexium) and sodium bicarbonate (zegerid).

If it still persists, then there is need for the intervention of surgery. Also, a process called Endoscopy which involves the placement of a small lighted tube with a video camera at the end into the esophagus. There may be the observation of inflammation or irritation of the tissue lining the esophagus (esophagitis). With that, biopsy (the act of removing a small tissue sample from the lining of the esophagus) is then inevitable.

Whenever any unusual occurrence occurs in your body system, see a doctor or consult your pharmacist.

They are readily at your service.

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