Acid Reflux: What are the 4 types (phases)?

4 Types of Acid Reflux


The longer and the more frequent acid reflux episodes are, the more significant is the damage to the esophagus. The type of management is dependent on which type of acid reflux the patient is experiencing. What’s the difference between these types? Watch Dr. Vikki’s video to learn more.

Transcript of the video

I want talk to you today about the four types of acid reflux. Acid reflux is a very common symptom that a lot of Americans put up with and treat sometimes themselves over the counter. And then as it gets more serious, they visit their doctor and more stronger meds, more serious meds are used. But let’s go over the four types to start and then some good recommendations of how to deal with it.

Acid Reflux Phase I

So the first one is mild symptoms. This is when you have acid reflux, not even maybe the reflux where you have the acid coming up into your throat, but just more of a heartburn, that burning feeling. You’ve never had it, you know, you’re not quite sure what’s going on. But in the mild stages, maybe once or twice a month… Certainly something that’s pretty easy to ignore because it’s not bothering you that much.

Acid Reflux Phase II

The second phase is a moderate phase. Now it’s occurring more often. It’s getting your attention, it’s making you more uncomfortable. You might start self-medicating with an over-the-counter antacid and that’s sort of “handling it” for a while. But because we’re worsening over time. it gets to the stage where you seek out your doctor and they’ll give you an antacid or as it gets worse, a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).

At this stage, at the moderate stage, you will probably get decent results from that. And you say “as long as I take my med, I’m okay, but boy, if I forget a day, I’m in trouble”. So, so we have mild and moderate.

Then number three is severe.

Acid Reflux Phase III

That’s where it’s been going on for a while.

That chronic acid is causing some erosions ulcers. That’s when you get maybe an endoscopy: they’ll tell you you have gastritis or esophagitis, just meaning “inflammation of”. So now these poor tissues are really getting irritated and eroded, ulcerous, and you are likely on the proton pump inhibitor, the stronger medication. And also you might not be getting relief from it anymore, which I hear from a lot of patients.

Acid Reflux Phase IV

And then lastly is the fourth stage. It is when these lesions are turning into a pre-cancerous state or a cancerous state. And of course then we’ve had a lot of damage and we’re into, as I said, the realm of cancer.

So, those are the four types of acid reflux or GERD.

What I really want talk about is what to do about it.

So of course, if you can roll back the clock, the first thing you want to do is not ignore it and realize that as soon as something starts happening, you want to do something about it.

Symptoms and causes

Because while your stomach is a bag of acid and it’s designed to be a bag of acid, it’s not supposed to spasm and then squirt that acid up your esophagus — which is what the acid reflux, GERD, is indicating. That’s what it’s explaining to you or giving you the symptom of: that inappropriate reflux of the acid from the stomach up the esophagus where it’s not supposed to go.

And, if you’ve ever vomited, you know what that feels like when that those acidic contents of the stomach have come up into your mouth. It tastes awful. It feels terrible because again, it’s super acidic and those tissues of your esophagus and your mouth are not designed to sustain that. Now there can be some “sneaky” aspects of acid reflux… you can get that dramatic “burning in the chest”, and you wonder if you’re having a heart attack. You might run to the ER the first few times you experience it, only to be told your heart is fine and it’s acid reflux.

But the sneakier ones are where the acid is sort of crawling up your esophagus more subtly. You notice things like hoarseness in your voice or sore throat, or you wake up and you just have a bad taste in your mouth, because at night you’re horizontal so it’s easier for the acid to flow upwards.

Antacids: not a good long-term solution

We want to appreciate the fact that acid is supposed to be in your stomach and it’s there for a reason. It’s there to digest your foods properly. As soon as you take an antacid and you reduce that acid, you’re setting yourself up for inappropriate digestion and then [mal]absorption of your food. I can’t stress that enough. The long-term use of antacids not only really upset your digestion, they can create bone loss and long-term, some cancer. So it’s not something you just want to keep taking.

Getting to the root cause of acid reflux is — we’ve been doing this at the clinic for decades — not hard. It’s really not hard. Your stomach is in spasm, it is pushing on your diaphragm and it’s squirting the acid up the esophagus. Why? Why is the stomach is spasm? Why isn’t it calmly and in a relaxed fashion, just accepting your food, churning it around the way it should, and then dumping those contents into your small intestine? There is a reason for this. It can be anything from food to infection. There’s a bit of a list, but know that you want get to the root cause and get to it as soon as possible so you aren’t stuck with this long range effects of ulcers and, goodness forbid, cancer in the long term.

So those are the four types of acid reflux and there’s a lot you can do about it. If you would like to hear about our approach, a natural approach that is  drug free and resolves the problem for good (yes, it truly does), then please contact us for a consultation.

[Note: At the time this transcript is revised, Root Cause Medical Clinic does not offer free consultations anymore. However, we have Specials from time to time, and feel free to use them as they become available.] 

Contact us for a consultation. You can reach us at 727-335-0400.

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