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The main symptom is heartburn (a rising, burning feeling behind the chest). It can vary with posture and is often worse after eating large, fatty, or spicy meals. Other symptoms may include regurgitation or an acidic or bitter taste in your mouth. You may be asked to try an acid suppressing medication (PPI) to see if your symptoms improve. If they do not improve, an endoscopy may be required for patients with chronic symptoms, patients over the age of 55, those with diagnostic uncertainly, or any with alarming symptoms.
Simple changes to lifestyle factors can help alleviate reflux symptoms. Eat small meals, aim to lose excess weight, avoid spicy, fatty and acidic foods, raise the head-end of your bed by about 10cm, and quit smoking.
Acid suppressing medications (PPIs) are the most effective treatment and key to their effectiveness is how they are taken. For best results the drugs should be taken once or twice a day 30 minutes before meals. There are over the counter options as well, such as OTC antacids which neutralise acid and can be useful in mild reflux. Others are designed to form a protective barrier between the gastric juices and the oesophagus.
Helicobacter Pylori (HP) is a common bacterium found in the upper gastrointestinal tract of more than half of the world’s population, but over 80% of individuals infected with these bacteria do not experience symptoms.
The role of HP in reflux is controversial. Treatment may improve symptoms in some patients but others find that their symptoms seem to worsen. Finally it may be that HP is perhaps protective of other upper gastrointestinal conditions. I usually suggest eradicating it in those patients primarily with dyspeptic symptoms, as opposed to reflux symptoms.
Dr Deepak Suri is a General Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist at Highgate Private Hospital, treating patients with symptoms such as abdominal pain, dyspepsia, reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, rectal bleeding as well as assessing and treating patients with liver dysfunction and abnormal liver tests. Dr Suri believes in a holistic and individualized approach to patients and their symptoms.
Dr Suri is available for patient appointments on Friday afternoons every week.
A private consultation with Dr Suri at Highgate Private Hospital costs £200 if you are self-funding your treatment. We accept all major health insurers. To book an appointment, contact us on 020 8341 4182 or email email@example.com
If you do not have a referral letter, you can also see one of our Private GPs with whom appointments can be booked through the contact information above.
Copyright Dr Deepak Suri, 2016