The pain; will actually be understood by one who has suffered from it,the burning sensation one gets in the middle of chest. It usually occurs about half an hour to one hour after taking food. Certain foods particular to the individual trigger it. More commonly pickle, dry foods, fad foods, spicy and chilly food are responsible for it. There is regurgitation of fluid and food with burning sensation. It may be mild to severe. By experience person will rush to drink water or antacids to get relief from it.
This is termed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It may be a part of acid peptic disease, more commonly. GERD may occur due to a lax lower esophageal sphincter mechanism, in isolation. It may be due to hiatus hernia, herniation of stomach in various proportions into chest through a defect in the diaphragm that separates chest from abdomen. Esophageal dismotility may also cause it. A bad dietary habit is responsible for its exaggeration.
Diagnosis of it starts from the history of typical symptoms. An endoscopy will show the evidence of the disease. There may be erosions in the mucosa of esophagus. A Barrett’s esophagus, where the normal inner layer is replaced by intestinal pattern. A hiatus hernia also can be distinguished. Esophageal manometric study finds dismotility if any.
The proton pump inhibitors are the main stay of treatment where, no organic problem is noticed.Specific diseases like hiatus hernia and a lax lower esophageal sphincter will require surgical intervention. The surgeries are usually successful. But, before that one may change some of his habits and try to get relief. Refraining from taking water immediately after food, walking in slow pace in the room, not going to bed immediately after taking food and keeping head end up supported by pillow may help. Some Yogic practices like taking deep respiration and exhaling it with full force,repeating it for several times in a session may strengthen the diaphragm to block acid eructation from stomach to esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus requires special mention because it may lead to cancer of esophagus in the long run. If found has to be followed with regular endoscopic reviews.
Though a benign disease; it is associated with considerable morbidity, if left untreated. But, the proton pump inhibitors have changed the total outlook of treatment. Many times patients become dependent on it.
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