If an individual has difficulty swallowing and also experiences symptoms of acid reflux, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine if the two issues are connected. In most cases, individuals who have minor issues with acid reflux will not cause difficulty swallowing. On the other hand, if the condition progressed to a more serious form, difficulty swallowing might be an indication that treatment is required.
Acid reflux is also called as gastroesophageal reflux and heartburn. A distinctive symptom is the taste of regurgitated food at the back of the mouth. Some individuals can experience an acidic or sour taste. There is a burning sensation in the chest that frequently occurs with acid reflux which is why many refer it as heartburn.
In case acid reflux worsens, it can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease. At this point, the individual can experience vomiting, nausea and difficulty swallowing.
What are the possible causes?
The symptoms experienced by the individual are due to a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter. It might open spontaneously or fail to close completely, thus allowing the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus. The stomach contains acids which utilizes it to digest food. Once these acids rise up with the food via the esophagus, it can cause a burning sensation felt in the chest.
The symptoms of acid reflux are not necessarily a cause for concern. In most individuals, avoiding foods that trigger the symptoms is enough to reduce the occurrence of acid reflux. The typical foods that must be avoided include chocolate, black pepper, coffee, alcohol, fatty food, ketchup, fried food, mustard, onions, peppermint, orange juice, vinegar, soft drinks and tomato sauce.
Close look on gastroesophageal reflux disease
If the individual experiences difficulty swallowing due to acid reflux, the condition already progressed to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is still unknown why some individuals end up with GERD while others do not, but the distinctive symptom is frequent acid reflux, usually more than twice a week.
Unable to manage the disease can lead to significant health issues include esophagitis or bleeding and ulceration along the esophageal lining which makes it difficult to swallow. The development of scar tissue along the esophagus due to constant inflammation is another complication of chronic GERD. This results to the narrowing of the esophagus, thus making it difficult to swallow. In severe cases, the damage can lead to esophageal cancer which is often deadly.
Important considerations to bear in mind
If the individual experiences difficulty swallowing or experiences frequent acid reflux, a doctor should be consulted right away to determine if there is a need to implement lifestyle changes. Aside from avoiding the problematic foods, the doctor will also advise the individual to undergo further tests to check the severity of the issue and prescribe medications to minimize the symptoms.