Causes of Acid Reflux Burning in Chest
Unbelievably, the acidity in your stomach is much the same as the acid used in your car battery. Knowing that
fact, it should come as no surprise, why acid reflux burning in the chest is so painful when that same acid comes
up into the oesophagus. In some cases, vomit arises resulting from a weakened or relaxed oesophageal valve. In
other cases, the vapours from the acid reflux causes tightness in the chest and temporarily disrupts oxygen flow to
the heart, making many people fear they are having a heart attack.
Every year, over four and a half million Americans visit their doctors with the symptoms of acid reflux GERD otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
We all experience heartburn sometime in our lives. It may just be a one-off unpleasant burp. It may be
"swallowing something down the wrong pipe" or dysphagia, difficulty swallowing. At its worst, acid reflux symptoms
include debilitating chest pain. If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis over several months, then you
may have acid reflux disease.
When you see your doctor about heartburn or acid reflux burning, there are several medical tests to find out if
your heartburn could damage the oesophagus or internal organs.
The first test is called an Endoscopy, where a thin, flexible tube and video camera are passed into the mouth,
down the oesophagus and into the stomach. While that may sound painful or uncomfortable, there is no need to be
worried because you will be under sedation and not feel anything.
The next check your physician may carry out is termed a Barium Esophagram. This particular test observes the
form of the oesophagus, searching for irregularities within the stomach and throat. You will ingest a chalky liquid
that contains barium, which coats the oesophagus and stomach, and makes it possible for them to be viewed in an
A third process, referred to as Oesophageal pH Monitoring, checks for the amount of acid inside the oesophagus
over time. In one variation of this test, a tiny tube goes in through the nose, into the oesophagus and an acidity
monitor around the end measures acidity concentrations over a 24-hour period. Another technique to monitor consists
of attaching a medical capsule sized monitor during an endoscopy, which checks acidity over a forty-eight hour
period. The monitor is then passed out like food.
While these methods might sound uncomfortable, it is much better than coping with a damaged oesophagus further
down the line!
The treatment options for acid reflux GERD vary from patient to patient. Some people take antacids, which
neutralize the stomach acids and helps to control acid reflux
symptoms. Other patients take mucosal protective agents to protect the oesophagus. Sucralfate suspension,
available only by prescription, acts like a gel layer that blocks stomach juices from rising out of the stomach.
The thick Alginic acid is an over-the-counter method where the heartburn medicine floats on top of stomach acid
to block oesophagus contact. A third treatment involves Promotility or Prokinetic Agents (prescribed
Metoclopramide), which encourages the stomach to empty acid before it becomes a problem. A fourth option helps
you reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces by giving patients Acid-suppressive H2 Receptor Antagonists
or Proton Pump Inhibitors.
In addition to these measures, doctors usually advocate that patients try to lose weight, quit smoking, wear
looser fitting clothes, eat smaller meals, buy new pillows and avoid eating several hours before sleeping. Foods
that trigger acid reflux burning such as chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, caffeine, citrus, tomatoes and high fat
foods should also be avoided. It may seem like a hefty price to pay, but consider that the ultimate cost is your