Acid Reflux

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when the acids that aid digestion flow from your stomach back into your esophagus. This occurrence is generally accompanied by uncomfortable or painful sensations, including heartburn and the taste of sour liquid in the back of the throat.

Everyone experiences acid reflux in some form during their lifetime, but it varies greatly in its severity and frequency. Many people experience occasional mild bouts of acid reflux after eating certain foods. Other people develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a serious form of acid reflux that can have major impacts on lifestyle, sleep and general health.

It is important to treat regular occurrences of acid reflux, since it can lead to other problems, including ulcers in the stomach or esophagus, esophageal inflammation and some cancers.


Symptoms of acid reflux

The symptoms of acid reflux range from the mild to the severe, and include the following:

  • Heartburn: a burning sensation in the chest that, in serious cases, can escalate into chest pain
  • Regurgitation, often accompanied by an acidic taste in the back of the mouth
  • A sore throat that is worse when the individual attempts to swallow
  • Difficulty swallowing: a sensation that the back of the throat is inflamed
  • Increased salivation
  • Coughing, and respiratory symptoms that mimic sinusitis or asthma
  • Bad breath that persists after toothbrushing
  • Individuals suffering from GERD often have difficulty sleeping, since digestive acids flow more easily when the body is in a horizontal position

Although acid reflux is generally associated with adults, children can experience it as well. It is particularly common in newborn babies whose digestive systems are not yet fully developed. Most babies outgrow infant acid reflux by the time they are one year old, but it can persist, especially if there is a family history of acid reflux of GERD.


Your child might have a problem with acid reflux if:

  • He or she spits up or vomits a lot
  • There seem to be a lot of respiratory problems, such as coughing and wheezing
  • He or she refuses food in spite of being hungry
  • He or she is not gaining weight quickly enough

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