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Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is stomach acid coming up into the throat or food passage between the throat and stomach and causes “heartburn”. As location of the discomfort is often poor, may give the sensation of a “lump in the throat”. The stomach acid may also reach the back of the voice box (larynx) and cause hoarseness and cough, particularly in the early morning. There may be a sore throat or a bad taste in the mouth.
Complications such as scarring which narrows the oesophagus (food passage to the stomach) is unusual but make swallowing difficult. It is a common condition which can come and go without treatment, and about 5% of the Western population experience symptoms of GOR several times a month.
One of the mainstays of treatment is modification of lifestyle as follows:
Antacids (Gelusil, Rennes) are available without prescription. You should not take them if you are taking tetracycline.
Simple alginates (derived from seaweed) taken 45 minutes after meals and at bedtime float on top of the acid stomach contents and prevent reflux (Gaviscon). They often have to be given for a while with a drug to reduce acid production. (H2- receptor antagonists – e.g. Cimetidine) – and Proton pump inhibitors e.g. Zoton, these drugs are often given on their own for about a month.
Less than half patients treated will get recurrence of their symptoms within six months of stopping treatment. It may be necessary to keep on maintenance treatment e.g. Losec 10 or 20 mgs daily, will be over 80% effective.
For queries please contact Ambulatory Care on (01908) 995 470