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What is GE Reflux?

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
    • Hiccups
    • 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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