The valve at the lower end of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), ensures that stomach content does not move backward. However, stomach content may sometimes move back into your esophagus and travel toward your throat, which causes acid reflux or heartburn. If your heartburn is frequent and happens more than twice a week, you should seek medical attention from thebest Cypress gastroenterologist. When the backward flow of acid into the esophagus occurs frequently, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a more severe form of chronic acid reflux.
Besides uncomfortable burning in the throat and chest, other common symptoms of GERD may include nausea, chronic cough, swallowing difficulty, bad breath, and a hoarse voice.
Whenever you have signs of persistent acid reflux, go for treatment immediately so that you avoid potential complications that may arise. Consequently, below are health complications that may come from acid reflux and GERD.
Simply called breath shortness, dyspnea occurs when you have GERD since the stomach content that flows to the esophagus can also enter your lungs, especially as you sleep. As a result, your airways will become irritated and inflamed, making you struggle to receive sufficient air into the lungs, which causes breathing difficulty or chest tightness.
Studies suggest that gastroesophageal reflux disease may be one of the main causes of breathing problems and conditions such as asthma.
The exposure of your esophagus to the corrosive acid from your stomach often leads to its inflammation, medically called esophagitis.
The esophagus inflammation may cause chest pain and painful, difficult swallowing. If the esophagus inflammation occurs longer without treatment, it may cause other complications, such as esophageal narrowing and scarring.
The food you swallow may get stuck in your esophagus if you have esophagitis.
- Esophageal ulcer
An esophageal ulcer is a damage caused by stomach acid to the esophagus lining. Remember that the esophagus is a long muscular tube connecting your throat and the stomach.
If you have open sores in the esophagus lining, you may feel uncomfortable swallowing and suffer from bloating and indigestion.
- Esophagus narrowing
Medically known as esophageal stricture, you may have esophagus narrowing because the stomach acid causes inflammation and scarring.
Abnormal tissue growth and scarring in the esophagus make swallowing liquids and foods difficult.
- Esophageal carcinoma
Stomach acid damaging the esophagus tissues can eventually lead to esophageal cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, esophageal cancer makes up about 1% of cancer cases in the country.
Although cancerous cells begin from the esophagus lining, they can gradually spread and attack other parts of your body.
- Tooth enamel erosion
Stomach acid entering your mouth may affect chewing surfaces and cause dental erosion. The erosion of the enamel makes your teeth more sensitive to cold and hot foods and drinks. Moreover, you may have a toothache, and your teeth may become more susceptible to decay, cavities, and fractures.
Contact GastroDoxs today to schedule an appointment with a professional gastroenterologist and learn more about conditions that affect your digestive system.