Long Term Consequences of Untreated Acid Reflux
Acid Reflux Treatment in Houston
Acid reflux and GERD are conditions that cause stomach acid to “back up” into the esophagus, the muscular tube that transports food from your mouth to your stomach. These conditions can range in severity from mildly annoying to severe, affecting your ability to enjoy the foods and activities you love. Seeking heartburn treatment is important if you are experiencing acid reflux symptoms in Houston, as untreated acid reflux can have many negative long-term effects.
Facts About the Stomach and Stomach Acid
Stomach acid is primarily hydrochloric acid, which is produced by the parietal cells that line your stomach to assist your body with the digestion process.
- Stomach acid is so highly-concentrated that a single drop could eat through wood and even small amounts of metal.
- Your stomach protects itself from the effects of the acid used in digestion by continually producing a bicarbonate-rich solution that counteracts the effects of stomach acid on the organ itself.
- In addition to producing a protective solution, the inner lining of your stomach is completely replaced by new cells as often as twice a week.
- Stomach acid can benefit your health by killing bacteria and viruses in your food, preventing illness.
Long-Term Effects of Acid Reflux on the Body
Despite the many benefits of stomach acid as part of the digestive and immune systems, there are many negative long-term consequences of untreated acid reflux. Your stomach may have the ability to protect itself from the ravages of stomach acid, but your esophagus does not. Chronic GERD and untreated acid reflux can lead to:
- Heartburn – this causes general discomfort and can affect your diet and lifestyle.
- Esophagitis – this is characterized by irritation and inflammation of the esophagus. This can ultimately lead to bleeding, ulcers, and scarring in the esophagus.
- Narrowing of the esophagus – this may affect your ability to swallow or digest your food properly.
- Barrett’s Esophagus – a serious condition that causes abnormal changes to occur in the affected cells of the esophagus. Rather than replacing damaged cells with those normally found in the esophagus, your body instead grows cells inside the esophagus that are more similar to those found in your intestine. This process increases your risk of developing a type of cancer of the esophagus called esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Reflux Specialists is proud to offer heartburn relief and treatment for reflux disease on in Houston, TX. If you are experiencing acid reflux or GERD symptoms, contact Reflux Specialists of Houston today by calling (713) 640-5377 to address your needs for a healthier digestive tract.