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Four unexpected indicators of acid reflux

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 6 months ago

Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are commonly associated with symptoms such as heartburn, gas, and a sour taste in the mouth. However, there are several lesser-known side effects of acid reflux that people should be aware of, according to gastroenterologists.

Firstly, acid reflux can cause fullness and pressure in the ears. When reflux material from the esophagus pools in the uppermost part of the throat, it can increase pressure in the tubes that connect the nasopharynx with each ear. This can lead to a feeling of fullness or blockage in the ears, as well as symptoms such as ear pain, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss.

Additionally, acid reflux can affect the respiratory system, causing difficulty breathing. The proximity of the esophagus and respiratory system means that acid reflux can sometimes lead to infection or inflammation in the airways, resulting in shortness of breath. People with asthma may also experience chronic cough, chest pain, and trouble breathing as a result of acid reflux.

Acid reflux can also have an impact on dental health, causing sensitivity, corrosion of the teeth, sour taste, and bad breath. When acid directly contacts the oral cavity, it can overcome the saliva's protective buffering abilities and affect both pediatric and adult patients.

Chest pain is another side effect of acid reflux, although it's important to rule out more serious conditions like heart attacks first. Around 50 to 60% of noncardiac chest pain can be attributed to GERD. When acid travels up the esophagus, it can cause chest pain that may radiate to the neck, throat, and jaw.

To alleviate acid reflux and its side effects, it is recommended to treat the acid reflux itself. This can be done through dietary changes, such as avoiding caffeine, carbonation, acidic and spicy foods, alcohol, and eating late at night. Elevating the head when lying down and using over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as proton pump inhibitors or histamine-2 receptor blockers, can also help. In some cases, an antibiotic regimen may be necessary if an infection of Helicobacter pylori bacteria is causing the reflux.

Individuals should consult a physician if their symptoms are more frequent or severe than before, or if over-the-counter or prescription medications are not providing relief. Specific symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and chronic cough should also prompt medical attention.

In conclusion, acid reflux can have several side effects that are often overlooked. Being aware of these symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment can help alleviate the discomfort caused by acid reflux.

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