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Common Misconceptions about Acid Reflux in Singapore

While acid reflux is prevalent in Singapore, I have noticed that there are many misconceptions surrounding it. In this article, I hope to address and debunk some of these myths and provide you with accurate information about acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when the muscle at the end of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, does not close properly. This causes stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. It is estimated that 10-20% of the population in Singapore suffers from acid reflux, making it a common condition that should not be ignored.

  • Myth #1: Only adults can get acid reflux

While it is true that adults are more prone to this condition, children can also experience it.
As a parent, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of acid reflux in your child. This can include frequent spitting up, discomfort after eating, and difficulty gaining weight. If left untreated, acid reflux in children can lead to poor growth and even respiratory problems. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical advice if you suspect your child may be experiencing acid reflux.

  • Myth #2: Acid reflux is just heartburn

Many people believe that acid reflux is simply a case of heartburn, but the truth is that this condition involves much more than just discomfort in the chest. While heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux, it can also manifest as a persistent cough, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, acid reflux can also lead to chest pain that mimics a heart attack. Thus, it is important not to dismiss any symptoms and consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Myth #3: Acid reflux is caused by spicy or acidic foods

There is a common misconception that spicy or acidic foods are the primary cause of acid reflux. While these types of foods can trigger symptoms, they are not the root cause of this condition. In fact, there are many other factors that contribute to acid reflux, such as obesity, smoking, and stress, or even structural issues that may require further investigation to diagnose.

As a doctor, I often advise my patients to keep a food diary to track their triggers and make necessary dietary changes. However, it is also important to address any underlying factors that may be causing acid reflux.

  • Myth #4: Acid reflux is not a serious condition

Some people believe that acid reflux is just a minor inconvenience and not something to worry about. However, this is far from the truth. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to serious complications such as esophageal ulcers and even cancer. This is because the constant irritation from stomach acid can damage the lining of the esophagus.

It is important to seek proper treatment for acid reflux in order to not only manage symptoms but also prevent potential health risks. This may include lifestyle changes, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.

  • Myth #5: Medication can cure acid reflux

While medication can provide relief from symptoms, it is important to note that it does not cure acid reflux. Many people rely solely on medication and neglect making necessary lifestyle changes. However, such changes are crucial in managing the condition for the long term.

For instance, losing weight can significantly reduce the pressure on the stomach and lessen symptoms of acid reflux. Additionally, avoiding trigger foods, quitting smoking, and managing stress can also contribute to better management of this condition.

In conclusion, this condition is not just limited to adults, and it involves more than just heartburn. While certain foods may trigger symptoms, there are other factors that can contribute to acid reflux.

If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, do not hesitate to seek medical advice. Your doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend an individualised treatment plan. Remember, understanding and managing this condition is crucial for your overall health and well-being. So, take control of your acid reflux today for a better tomorrow.

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Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.