In addition to the discomfort it may cause you, acid reflux disease is often a chronic and complex condition that can lead to serious complications over time. Some people feel symptoms more frequently than others, but not feeling symptoms all of the time doesn’t eliminate the risk of serious damage. A little heartburn pain may not seem like a big deal. But something worse could be going on, like damage to your oesophagus.
Serious damage is associated with acid reflux disease
- Erosive esophagitis
Erosive esophagitis is a condition in which the lining of your oesophagus has been eroded away or damaged by continued exposure to acid and other stomach contents. Severe erosive esophagitis can include oesophagal ulcers. Fortunately, erosive esophagitis can be treated. Talk to your doctor about healing erosive esophagitis.
Know the risk of future complications
- Oesophagal stricture
Oesophagal stricture is the narrowing of the oesophagus. This condition can make it difficult to swallow. Forcing yourself to swallow may then cause vomiting or choking. A stricture can cause food to get trapped in part of the oesophagus.
- Barrett’s oesophagus
Barrett’s oesophagus occurs when the lining of the lower oesophagus changes to resemble the lining of the intestine. This may be the body’s way of trying to protect the oesophagus from the refluxing stomach acid. Barrett’s oesophagus is a serious complication of acid reflux disease that, in rare cases, can increase the risk of developing a type of oesophagal cancer called adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus. Prevacid is not indicated for the treatment of oesophagal stricture or Barrett’s oesophagus.