Acid Reflux/GORD Information Sheet
Updated 28 July 2012
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux – or heart burn happens when acid from the stomach enters the oesophagus – the bit that connects the mouth to the stomach. This can cause a burning sensation – and in the long term can cause oesophagitis -damage
the oesophagus. Persistent reflux is known as Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Acid reflux does not
necessarily result in pain – and you may experience other symptoms such as a persistent sore throat/tickly cough.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux can be caused by either excess stomach acid – or by damage to the valve that separates the stomach from
the oesophagus. A medical condition cal ed a hiatus hernia where the top of the stomach is within the diaphragm can also cause/worsen acid reflux.
In Ulcerative Colitis acid reflux is often experienced during steroid taper/reduction. This is possibly caused by the adrenal glands re-starting steroid production – a process which is strongly linked to the chemical pathway that creates
stomach acid. It may also be due to inflammation of the oesophagus which was hidden by the steroids.
What is the treatment?
There are a number of remedies for acid reflux which work in different ways. Their suitability for treating reflux
combined with Ulcerative Colitis varies.
This medication physical y reacts with the stomach acid to neutralise the acid. It provides short term relief. It is not particularly suited to
reflux combined with Colitis – as it can make the smal intestine alkaline which wil cause the early release of ASACOL/Mesalazine MR.
This type of medication sits on top of the stomach acid – and stops it entering the oesophagus. It has no significant side effects and does
This should be the first line of treatment – and it should be taken after each meal and before bed to be most effective. This is also available
in liquid sachets that can be easily carried in a bag.
Proton pump inhibitors block the enzyme that creates stomach acid.
They are a highly effective treatment – and are in most cases the second line of treatment if barriers/alginates fail to reduce symptoms.
Though they are thought to be safe there is little information on long
term side effects. PPIs do not stop acid entering the
In general alginates are the best first line treatment. To be most effective they need to be taken after each meal and
before bed – not just when symptoms are experienced. The use of PPIs such as Omeprazole should be under the
supervision of your GP. If acid reflux persists then you may need to be referred to a consultant.
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