The presence of digestive juices in the oesophagus cause burning sensations in the chest or throat called heartburn, or acid indigestion. Heartburn which occurs more than twice per week can be considered as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Heartburn can occur when the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly after eating, allowing stomach acids to leak back, or reflux, into the oesophagus.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (Gerd)

As is my wont, I try to relate all of the health problems I suffer to multiple sclerosis. This is almost certainly ill-advised. But, it is also unavoidable in most instances.

gastroesophageal reflux heartburn gerd

It is nothing to do with heartburn. But, it is related to blaming MS for all my ails.

Recently, I had been experiencing severe pain in my groin. It eased slightly when I urinated so I assumed it was just a nasty neuralgic pain related to MS.

However, a visit to my neurologist, followed by a referral to the urologist revealed a far more benign cause and relief. I had an enlarged prostate gland and tamsulosin was a drug that could help reduce it.

Acid reflux was the intended topic for this post. So I suppose we should return to the subject.

In multiple sclerosis, Gastroesophageal Reflux may be brought about by demyelisation, or lesion, of the medulla oblongata in the Vagus Nerve, or 10th Cranial Nerve.

heartburn Gastroesophageal Reflux
Heartburn is a depressing pain

Other causes of reflux may be a hiatus hernia where the top of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm.

Hiatus Hernia sounds far more severe than it is. I have hiatus hernia.

However, my condition is very mild and doesn’t require any corrective surgery.

Furthermore, the treatment for hiatal hernia is really treatment for GERD and minimising acid reflux. This includes decreasing acid secretion in the stomach,

Calcium carbonate or foaming agents which coat the oesophagus lining. Or H2 blockers and Proton pump inhibitors.

Treatments

  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Tums
  • Titralac
  • Gaviscon
  • Tagamet
  • Pepcid
  • Zantac
  • Omeprazole

Most of these are over-the-counter, branded products available from your local pharmacist. Or even the local supermarket. Some, however, are prescription drugs available only from your GP.

Heartburn is not an especially debilitating condition. But, it is an irritant and can only add to the difficulties of living with Multiple Sclerosis.

While this kind of reflux is not considered a big problem. It may be indicative of other digestive difficulties that could have greater consequences.

External Links

Multiple Sclerosis Encyclopaedia

National Digestive Diseases Information

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