Reflux and heartburn


Heartburn is the feeling of a burning sensation in the throat or chest that is usually due to stomach acid backwashing up into the oesophagus or throat. Other symptoms may be acid brash, swallowing difficulties, a persistent cough or indigestion. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a very common. It can often be caused by diet such as too much caffeine or alcohol, weight or a hiatus hernia (stomach sliding up the chest wall). It is also very common with anxiety and during pregnancy and can affect people of all ages.

Uncontrolled reflux can result in a change in the lining of the oesophagus called Barrett’s oesophagus which can predispose to cancer of the oesophagus.

Treatment usually involves lifestyle modification and perhaps medication to reduce acidity in the stomach. Sometimes strong medication is required, or even surgery.