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Who is susceptible to acid reflux?

Acidreflux is usually associated with the adults. Particularly with adults with bad dietary habits such as eating too much, eating late, eating too hot, too spicy and too oily food, as well as with people who are overweight. But within the last few years, gastric reflux (another name for acid reflux) is becoming widespread in teenager population as well. Cause of this can be in eating all the wrong foods, but gastric reflux might affect even teenagers that are otherwise healthy and have proper eating habits.

Mechanism of acid reflux

Food that we have eaten firstly comes to the stomach. Walls of the stomach secrete powerful acid, known as stomach acid. Its chemical name is hydrochloric acid, and its chemical symbol is HCl. Its purpose is to soften and dissolve food particles and make the food much more susceptible to enzymes that will crack it down to molecules while it passes through the intestines, and turn it into form that can be absorbed into the body. Obviously, stomach content is full of acid. This is fine with the stomach, as its walls are acid-proof, and excess acid will be neutralized when the food moves in theintestines.

Undernormal circumstances, the food goes one way, and should not return travel back up save when we are vomiting. Stomach is connected to the mouth via a tube known as esophagus. It is sealed by sphincter muscles (these work as valves) that are located on top and on the bottom of it. The lower esophageal sphincter makes sure that the food stays in the stomach. In some cases, the contents of the stomach manage to flow past the lower esophageal sphincter (when it is not closed completely, or open at a wrong time) and into the esophagus. Acid in the refluxed content burns the walls of the esophagus (these are not even acid resistant) and causes pain and discomfort.

So what about teenagers?

Acidreflux in teenagers need not be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, anyone can experience it, particularly after indulging in the wrong type of dietary habits. But leaving this untreated can lead to GERD and later to other complications, even serious conditions such as cancer.

How to tell, what to do?

Symptomssuch as bad breath, dry cough and sore throat, sour or acid taste in the mouth, frequent “wet” burps, difficult swallowing or feeling that food gets stuck in the throat might be indicative of gastric reflux if they appear frequently. Proper diagnosis is possible only after a medical exam which will include tests for gastric reflux. Treatment is similar as in persons that do have GERD – by changes in lifestyle and eating habits, avoidance of problematic kinds of food, and eventually soothing of symptoms with prescription free medicines. Your family physician will provide you with specific advice.

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