Acid Reflux Can Lead To Cancer: Here’s What You Need To Know

source – cleveland clinic

Acid reflux disease, commonly known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, may cause various symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 9th Dec 2021.

Acid Reflux Can Lead To Cancer: Here’s What You Need To Know

Acid reflux symptoms are well-known to a large number of individuals. Acid reflux affects more than 60 million Americans at least once a month. Acid reflux disease, commonly known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, may cause various symptoms.

What Are the Common Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Acid reflux symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, and dyspepsia, to name a few.

Heartburn. Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is a searing sensation or discomfort that may spread from your stomach to your abdomen and chest. The pain may apply to your throat. Heartburn, despite its name, does not affect your heart.

Regurgitation. Regurgitation, or the feeling of acid backing up into your throat or mouth, is another frequent symptom of acid reflux. Regurgitation may leave you with a sour or bitter taste, as well as “wet burps."

Dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is a condition that affects many individuals who have acid reflux disease. Dyspepsia is a word used to describe stomach pain. Dyspepsia symptoms include:

  • Burping
  • Nausea after a meal
  • Stomach bloating or fullness
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen

Acid reflux symptoms may indicate that stomach acid has irritated your oesophagus. Stomach acid may damage the lining of your oesophagus and cause bleeding if this occurs. It may also alter the oesophagus cells over time, leading to cancer (Barrett’s oesophagus).

Don’t dismiss your acid reflux symptoms, even though they’re pretty frequent and seldom severe. Controlling acid reflux symptoms typically requires just a few lifestyle modifications and the use of over-the-counter antacids.

When Do Acid Reflux Symptoms Occur?

The following are the most common acid reflux symptoms:

  • Following a hearty lunch,
  • If you’re bending over or lifting anything,
  • When you’re lying down, particularly on your back,

Acid reflux symptoms are more common at night for those who get them often. The most painful stage of GERD is at night. However, the intensity of your discomfort does not necessarily reflect the extent of oesophagal injury.

During pregnancy, more than half of all pregnant women suffer heartburn. This acid reflux symptom may be caused by a combination of increased hormones and pressure from a developing foetus. Heartburn usually improves or disappears after delivery in the majority of instances.

What Makes Acid Reflux Symptoms Worse?

For some individuals, some meals may aggravate acid reflux symptoms. Avoid the following foods to alleviate your symptoms:

  • Fruits of the citrus family
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated beverages or alcoholic beverages
  • Foods that are spicy, greasy, or fried
  • Onions with garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes

Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Typically, acid reflux symptoms do not result in problems. Continued oesophagal injury may produce scarring, which can restrict the oesophagus in certain instances. Strictures form as a result of the constriction, making swallowing harder. You may be suffering from dysphagia, which is the feeling that food is trapped in your oesophagus. Normal cells in the oesophagal lining may be replaced by a different kind of cell in certain instances. Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition that may occasionally lead to cancer.

When Should I Call the Doctor With Acid Reflux Symptoms?

If your medicines don’t provide long-term relief, contact your doctor. If you experience any “alarm" acid reflux symptoms, such as these, contact your doctor immediately.

  • unexpected weight loss
  • vomiting blood
  • Stools that are black, tarry, or maroon in colour
  • Swallowing difficulty or discomfort

Other symptoms of acid reflux that should trigger a visit to the doctor include:

  • Symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing or a dry cough
  • Hoarseness of voice, particularly first thing in the morning
  • Sore throat that persists
  • Hiccups that won’t go away
  • Nausea that lasts longer than a day or two is considered chronic nausea.

People often mistake the signs and symptoms of a heart attack with those of acid reflux illness. This is because chest discomfort may mimic heartburn. Call your doctor if you’re unsure.

If you experience any of the following heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • Chest discomfort, pressure, or fullness that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes
  • Neck, shoulder, upper back, or jaw pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath, sometimes accompanied by chest discomfort. 
  • unexpected weight reduction
  • Nausea, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Sweating and discomfort in the chest

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/acid-reflux-symptoms 
  2. The American College of Gastroenterology: “Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." University of Maryland Medical Center: “Gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn." National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: “Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease."
  3. American Academy of Family Physicians: “Dyspepsia: What It Is and What to Do About It."
  4. American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn: Hints on Dealing With the Discomfort."

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