Indigestion or Reflux?
Sometimes Acid Reflux and Indegestion can be confused. What we call acid reflux is called G.E.R.D., and indigestion is called Dyspepsia, and they can run hand in hand. Usually it's caused by a hyper-secretion of acid that can reflux up into your esophagus, that's called GERD. Or it just sits in your stomach and causes abdominal pain, bloating, feeling like your abdomen is distended, what we call indegestion. Usually, if you are young with no alarm symptoms, and that means, you're not losing weight, there's no family history of gastric cancer, you're not throwing up blood, you have no problems with swallowing or pain when you swallow, then most of the times what we do is we call test and treat. What that means is we usually check for a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori. This bacteria is commonly found in a lot of people, and most of the time causes no symptoms. But there is a certain population where it can cause the feelings of indigestion.
And so we try to look for the bacteria either through a breath test, a stool test, and sometimes through blood. And if you have this bacteria, we treat it with antibiotics. Sometimes, if you don't have it, then the treatment would be usually what we call a proton pump inhibitor, which is an acid reducing medicine, like Nexium, Prylosec, which you can find over the counter. Reflux disease can sometimes present as having some damage in your esophagus, but actually most of the time when we do an endoscopy in patients with acid reflux, the esophagus looks normal.
But that doesn't mean that you don't have reflux disease. It just means that you don't have damage. And the population where we find damage is actually not that often.
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