What is GE Reflux?
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GE reflux) occurs when the contents of the stomach leak backwards into the esophagus (the tube the connects the mouth to the stomach)
- The leakage can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn or other symptoms
Common symptoms of GE reflux
- Feeling that food is stuck behind the breastbone
- Heartburn or a burning pain in the chest (under the breastbone)
- Increased by bending, stooping, lying down, or eating
- More likely or worse at night
- Nausea after eating
- Less common symptoms:
- Bringing food back up (regurgitation)
- Cough or wheezing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness or change in voice
- Sore throat
When does it occur?
- In many cases, we don’t know why individuals with NBIA develop GE reflux
- It could be caused by dystonia (muscle spasms) in the head and neck
- Muscle spasms may prevent the stomach sphincter (opening) from closing properly or cause it to open and close, which results in stomach contents leaking out
- It often results from the sedentary lifestyle caused by NBIA symptoms
- GE reflux can also be caused, or made worse, by medications like the dopaminergic drugs used to treat parkinsonism
How can it be treated?
- Over-the-counter antacids (such as Tums)
- Taken after meals and at bedtime
- Their effectiveness does not last long
- Has side effects including diarrhea or constipation
- Other medications
- They work more slowly than antacids but give longer relief
- Proton pump inhibitors (like Prevacid and Nexium)
- Decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach
- H2 blockers (like Zantac)
- Lower the amount of acid released into the stomach
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