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Acidity( Gastroesophageal Reflux or GERD)

In Asia, the prevalence of symptom-based GERD during 2005-2010 was 5.2-8.5% in Eastern Asia and 6.3-18.3% in Iran — the country with most studies on GERD prevalence in South Central Asia.[1] Hospital-based studies on GERD from Pakistan have reported a prevalence of 22.2% and 24.0%.[2]

The food that we eat goes into the stomach through the oesophagus. The gastric glands in your stomach create hydrochloric acid, which is necessary to digest the food. When the gastric glands create more acid than needed for the digestion process, you tend to feel a burning sensation below the breastbone. This condition is commonly called acidity. Also known as acid reflux, characterised by heartburn that is felt around the lower chest area. It is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe. The most common acid reflux symptom is a burning sensation in the chest, and pain. While most people suffer in pain, they do not realise that poor lifestyle choices are the main reason behind acidity.

Symptoms :

  • Burning sensation and pain in the stomach
  • Burning sensation and pain in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
  • Frequent burping or hiccups for no apparent reason
  • Burning sensation and pain in the chest
  • Regurgitation
  • Post-meal heaviness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion

Diagnosis:  Based on history and physical examination.

Treatment: Antacids like Gaviscon syrup and Mucaine, histamine receptors blocking medicine like famotidine and proton pump inhibitors like lansoprazole. 

Most important is lifestyle modification:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Consumption of healthy food, avoid deep fried items and spicy food
  • Maintaining regular eating time with dinner ending at least two to three hours before bed. Avoid lying down after meals.
  • Having small regular meals
  • Avoid food that triggers acidity such as raw onion and citrus juice
  • Avoiding caffeine and carbonated drinks
  • Cut down on smoking and alcohol
  • Starting stress-relieving activities
  • Try to avoid medications that cause acidity

Middle aged obese gentleman came with a history of burning in the chest and nausea. He smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. I examined him and prescribed him Dexxoo 30mg twice a day and advised lifestyle modification. He came for a follow up after 15 days with improved symptoms.

  1. Jung KH. Epidemiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease in Asia: a systematic review. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2011; 17: 14-27.
  2. Riaz H, Kamal SW, Aziz S. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in students of a government medical college at Karachi. J Pak Med Assoc 2010; 60: 147-50.

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