You brush, you floss, and you go to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. This all means good dental health, right? But you also suffer from acid reflux – too much coffee, spicy food, and other things that taste wonderful but affect the stomach. Not many people realize that your heartburn can also be affecting your teeth.
You can probably understand that eating acidic food overtime can erode the protective enamel on your teeth. It’s a little harder to comprehend that the stomach acids that backup through your throat and into your mouth during a bout of acid reflux can do the same. Shockingly, acid reflux from gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is the number one cause of dental erosion.
The tube that connects the mouth and stomach – the esophagus – can malfunction, causing stomach acid to explode its way back up into the mouth. Besides the disgusting taste in your mouth and the immediate discomfort from heartburn, if this goes on long enough the tooth enamel can dissolve, leaving the teeth open to erosion and cavities.
Your dental health is just one possible side effect of acid reflux. If you are struggling with GERD, then it may be time to speak with your physician about laparoscopic surgery in Dallas. Surgical treatment for GERD focuses on the source of the reflux, which is often an abnormality in the lower esophageal sphincter that permits digestive juices to wash out of the stomach.
In addition to causing dental erosion, if left untreated acid reflux can cause damage to occur to the esophagus. If you are experiencing frequent heartburn and acid reflux, it is important to speak with your physician about your treatment options.
It has long been known that smoking poses serious health risks, but more risks are currently being discovered. Patients with Barrett’s Esophagus who smoke nearly double their risk for esophageal cancer. Also, Barrett’s patients double their risk for contracting cells that are precancerous. Indigestion can be a precursor to esophageal problems. If you are experiencing indigestion in Ft. Worth, then consult a doctor as soon as possible for a checkup.
Smoking cigarettes has been long known to be highly carcinogenic, but Barrett’s patients are at a greater risk of health problems from smoking inhalation. A Barrett’s patient who does not smoke has a much greater chance of not developing esophageal cancer or dysplasia. Dysplasia is typically a precursor to cancerous cells, and they can easily turn into cancer. Dysplasia or cancer of the esophagus or stomach can be deadly if not caught in time.
Barrett’s patients who also smoke should begin smoking cessation immediately. There are many methods on the market currently for smoking cessation. Whether a Barrett’s patient was smoking one cigarette a day or twenty, the risks for developing dysplasia and cancer were exceedingly high.
Suffering from frequent heartburn or indigestion can be a sign of gastrointestinal problems. Even among non-Barrett’s patients, smoking irritates the esophagus, and those who smoke have a higher risk to develop cancer. Smoking is not good for anyone. It poses too many health risks with virtually no benefits. All smokers should attempt a cessation program; however, for Barrett’s patients smoking could be even more dangerous.
If a patient is suffering from indigestion in Dallas and doesn’t know the cause, they should know that GERD can often develop because of hernias. GERD is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, and a hernia is a protrusion of any internal organ through a weakness or abnormal opening in the muscle around it. The sort of hernia that often causes GERD is hiatal hernia, which protrudes through an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, a broad muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity and helps in breathing. The place where the hernia bulges up from the diaphragm is called the hiatus, and this is also the place where the esophagus passes through to the stomach. The esophagus, which is part of the very long and complicated gastrointestinal tract, is the long tube where food makes its way from the mouth and throat and into the stomach.
Because the hernia and the esophagus are interfering with each other in the same space, a person can suffer symptoms of both GERD and hiatal hernia at the same time, though most people who have a hiatal hernia are symptom free. Sometimes the symptoms of GERD and hiatal hernia are very similar, and often include a feeling of heartburn that develops about an hour after eating, belching and difficulty swallowing.
The hernia can cause acid to flow up into the esophagus from the stomach and irritate the esophagus. Mild symptoms of a hiatal hernia can be treated with a change in dietary and lifestyle habits. Large meals should be avoided and the patient should lose weight if they’re overweight, and shouldn’t eat anything for at least a couple of hours before they go to bed. They should also avoid foods that they know cause their symptoms. The condition is also helped if the head of the bed is raised about four to six inches, which helps to keep stomach acid from rising and causing irritation.
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has released new guidelines to recommend the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to treat and remove precancerous cells in people who have Barrett’s esophagus, which is a condition caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Two million Americans are affected by Barrett’s esophagus and it’s the leading cause of esophageal cancer. Previously, people who had Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and related heartburn symptoms where traditionally treated through a “watch and wait” method.
Common symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) include trouble swallowing, regurgitation, and frequent heartburn, which arise due to stomach contents being splashed back up into the esophagus. Repeated acid washing may damage healthy cells in the esophagus, sometimes leading to Barrett’s esophagus. Although Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition, the risk of developing cancer is still present.
RFA essentially eliminates Barrett’s esophagus in about 90 to 100 percent of patients by burning the layers of abnormal cells. According to industry experts, early RFA treatment may reduce a patients’ risk of developing cancer, while contributing to a lower growth rate of esophageal cancer. RFA is performed by taking an endoscopy instrument (flexible tube) and inserting it into the esophagus to the treatment area; any suspicious lesions or biopsies can be taken at that time. The new guidelines from AGA advise that RFA treatment be used on patients who have low to high grade dysplasia and high-risk patients who don’t have dysplastic cells.
Speak to your Dallas, Fort Worth physician to see if you are a radiofrequency ablation candidate.
A new study may give doctors and scientists a better understanding of how acid reflux triggers the development of reflux esophagitis—an esophagus injury related to GERD.
It was believed that stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus would burn and damage the lining. However, research has found that stomach acid does not have a direct effect on the cells in the lining.
Researchers found that the presence of acid reflux caused chemicals known as cytokines to be released. Cytokines caused inflammatory immune cells to appear in the esophagus and damaged the lining. Although stomach acid seems to be responsible for starting the chain reaction that causes esophagus damage, the change is attributed directly to the inflammatory immune cells.
As a result of this research, scientists may look for alternative treatment options for GERD patients. Current standards involve medications designed to reduce the production of stomach acid. However, medications may be developed that would target the body’s response to cytokines in order to reduce their presence in the esophagus.
People who suffer from heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week may be prescribed GERD medications to help alleviate symptoms, such as proton pump inhibitors that reduced the production of stomach acids. In addition to taking any GERD medications that your doctor prescribes, you should also talk to your doctor about any other medications you’re taking as some drugs can actually make GERD symptoms worse.
What Medications Can Aggravate GERD?
Certain medications won’t affect the amount of acid in your stomach but can irritate the lining of your esophagus, which can make heartburn pain worse. Medications that can irritate your esophagus include:
- Antibiotics such as tetracycline
- Bisphosphonates, including Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin and ibuprofen
Iron and potassium supplements may also cause additional inflammation of your esophagus.
Other medications can worsen GERD by increasing the production of stomach acid and making acid reflux occur more frequently. These medications that increase acid reflux include:
- Anticholinergics such as Ditropan
- Calcium channel blockers and nitrates
- Opiods such as codeine, Lortab and Vicodin
- Sedatives or tranquilizers, including Valium and temazepam
- Theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theochron)
If you suffer from GERD symptoms or your doctor has prescribed GERD medications, be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. This should include prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements you may be taking on your own. In addition to aggravating your GERD symptoms, some medications will be affected by the GERD medications your doctor may prescribe.
If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably had heartburn at least once in your life. If, however, you have been experiencing it more than twice a week, it’s possible that you have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a more serious chronic condition.
Heartburn occurs when the valve between your esophagus and your stomach weakens and the acid in your stomach enters the esophagus, or refluxes. It causes a burning sensation, a taste of bile in the mouth, and maybe sharp pain in your chest. If this is indicative of GERD, though, the constant acid in your esophagus can cause several problems, including tooth decay, ulcers, Barrett’s esophagus, and even esophageal cancer.
If you find yourself with mild symptoms, you can usually treat yourself. First, change your lifestyle. Eat smaller meals, don’t eat at least two hours before bedtime, avoid fatty and spicy foods, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and quit smoking. For many people, losing weight will put less pressure on the esophagus and symptoms can disappear completely. In addition to making lifestyle changes, you can also take over-the-counter antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors, but these should be used as a last resort.
If your symptoms continue or are more severe than “mild,” you should speak to your physician about more advanced treatment options to resolve your GERD.
In addition to the pain of heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can sometimes lead to a condition known as laryngospasm. Laryngospasm refers to a temporary spasm of the vocal chords that can block your airway and leave you unable to speak or breathe. Find out more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of laryngospasm.
If you suffer from GERD, your esophagus is repeatedly being exposed to damaging stomach acids. In some cases, the stomach acid may even reach your larynx, which is even more prone to injury than the esophagus. If either your esophagus or larynx is injured, you may experience laryngospasm. Coughing due to an upper respiratory infection, which can push acid into the larynx, or being under general anesthesia during surgery may also increase your risk of developing laryngospasm.
People who experience laryngospasm are unable to breathe or speak and may wake up in the middle of the night because they feel like they’re suffocating. As the airways open, you can usually hear a high-pitched breathing sound. While an episode of laryngospasm typically only lasts one to two minutes, it can be extremely frightening.
In addition to having troubles breathing or speaking during these episodes, people who have laryngospasm often suffer from other symptoms related to GERD. These symptoms may include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, coughing, or nausea.
In most cases, treating laryngospasm involves treating GERD as the underlying cause. GERD treatment may include diet and lifestyle changes, proton pump inhibitor therapy, or surgery.
While proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) treat acid reflux symptoms very effectively, a new study suggests that patients who stop using them may experience rebound symptoms. Researchers at Copenhagen University studied 120 healthy adults who had no symptoms or history of acid reflux disease. The participants who took daily doses of the PPI Nexium for eight weeks reported almost 30% more acid-related symptoms than the participants who took placebos.
Christina Reimer, MD, the lead researcher, suggests that this acid rebound effect, known as “rebound acid hypersecretion,” is a result of a stomach acid-stimulating hormone called gastrin. In response to the PPI-related acid suppression, gastrin is overproduced, and once the PPI is stopped, the stomach works overtime to create acid.
The relevance of this study has been questioned by a manufacturer of Nexium and Prilosec. Blair Haines, a spokesman for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, said, “This study was conducted in healthy volunteers, and the authors acknowledge that they can’t be sure that the conclusion can be carried over to patients who have started PPI therapy because of dyspeptic symptoms.”
The study does appear to consider that issue by admitting that the benefits of PPI therapy still appear to outweigh the risks for patients who have established acid reflux disease. Additionally, it’s unlikely that people who take the over-the-counter version of Prilosec for short periods of time will experience rebound acid hypersecretion.