Diagnosis and Conventional Treatments for Acid Reflux

endoscopy

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  • Manometry aims to gauge the strength of the esophageal muscles and the lower esophageal sphincter. This is often done on patients who suffer from chronic heartburn and chest pain
  • Even though most doctors across the country claim that reflux medications are safe, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have actually been linked to serious health problems

The increase in acid reflux rates in the population has led to the emergence of numerous drugs to address this condition.1 While some medications may be effective in the short term, they might cause damage if taken for long periods of time. When seeking possible treatment options for this condition, it is best that you gauge how effective they really are.

How Is Acid Reflux Diagnosed?

If you’ve been suffering from acid reflux for a considerable amount of time, it’s fairly simple to differentiate it from other conditions due to the distinct sensation it causes. However, if it’s your first time experiencing it, it can be difficult to know for certain, especially since severe cases may be comparable to heart attack pain.

Aside from identifying the symptoms of acid reflux, there’s also the option of getting diagnosed by a health practitioner if your episodes are increasing in frequency. Some of the tests that may be done include the following:

  • Esophageal manometry — Manometry aims to gauge the strength of the esophageal muscles and the lower esophageal sphincter. This is often done on patients who suffer from chronic heartburn and chest pain.2
  • pH monitoring — This entails the insertion of a measuring device into the patient’s esophagus to measure the acid levels present. The sensor inserted just above the lower esophageal sphincter tracks each acid reflux in a 24-hour period. The sensor may also be placed near the pharynx to record whether the acid refluxes reach the upper throat.3
  • Upper endoscopy — Upper endoscopies refer to the insertion of a camera tube into the mouth to check the inside of the esophagus and the stomach.4 One of the most common diagnosing tools used by health practitioners, endoscopies are also seen as an overused test in acid reflux patients. Some doctors note that an upper endoscopy should only be considered if there are possible serious underlying conditions.5

Are Proton Pump Inhibitors Recommended for Acid Reflux?

To curb episodes of acid reflux, many people rely on pharmaceuticals for fast relief. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are some of the drugs used for acid reflux. Today, Americans spend as much as $13 billion a year on reflux medication.6

But while PPIs are widely used for easing reflux, they may be quite problematic. Even though most doctors will say reflux medications are safe, PPIs have actually been linked to serious health problems.

These drugs primarily work by inhibiting the body’s proton pumps, which are responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid.7 This may then lead to an acid imbalance in the stomach, which may compromise nutrient absorption. Additionally, proton pump inhibitors have been linked to an increased risk for dementia, heart attacks, kidney disease and B12 deficiencies.8,9,10,11

Once you take these factors into account, it’s clear that PPIs may not be the best remedy for acid reflux. Consider opting for safe and natural alternatives that can target heartburn at its roots and not just provide you with short-term relief.

MORE ABOUT ACID REFLUX

Acid Reflux: Introduction

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid Reflux Symptoms

Acid Reflux Causes

How to Get Rid of Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux Treatment

Acid Reflux Prevention

Acid Reflux Diet

Acid Reflux FAQ

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