Acid reflux is bad enough if you know exactly what causes it, such as a hernia in your esophagus or a weak valve at the top of your stomach, but many people suffer from reflux or excess acidity without medical science being able to find any reason for it.
The journal Gastroenterology has now published a study of these cases to see how common they are.
The authors of this study investigated what they called functional gastrointestinal disorders, which they define as symptoms in the esophagus, stomach, abdomen, or bowels that have no obvious cause.
The researchers surveyed 33 countries across continents. Participants completed an internet survey of symptoms in 24 countries while face-to-face interviews were conducted in a further seven. Two countries did both.
Approximately 2,000-2,500 people were surveyed in each country with an overall sample of 73,076 respondents; men and women were equally represented.
The participants reported their symptoms, their quality of life, the use of health services in general and doctor’s visits per year, their diets, their living conditions, their socio-economic statuses, co-occurring conditions, and so forth.
People with diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders were excluded
Depending on age and sex, they found that:
1. between 1.4 and 1.5 percent of participants reported chest pain,
2. 1.1 to 1.3 percent reported heartburn,
3. 0.8 to one percent reported reflux hypersensitivity,
4. 0.8 to 0.9 percent reported globus (lump in the throat),
5. 2.7 to 3.5 percent reported difficulty swallowing,
6. 4.6 to six percent reported other symptoms in the upper digestive tract,
7. 3.8 to 9.2 percent reported indigestion,
8. 3.3 to 7.8 percent reported postprandial distress syndrome (meal-related symptoms like extreme fullness),
9. 1.2 to 2.9 percent reported epigastric pain (pain below the ribs),
10. 0.7 to 1.1 percent reported frequent belching,
11. 2.4 to 3.1 percent reported regurgitation/reflux, and
12. smaller percentages complained of chronic or occasional nausea or vomiting.
Problems in the lower half of the digestive tract were even more common, with up to 15 percent complaining of constipation, up to 5.3 percent having irritable bowel syndrome, 5.3 percent having diarrhea, and 9.5 percent having unspecified bowel symptoms.
The percentages of women who suffered from these symptoms were higher than men across the board, and more young people suffered than older people did.
Those with symptoms visited their doctors more often and were more likely to live unhealthy lifestyles.
There was almost no difference between different countries.
The most incredible thing about this study is that they call this “acid reflux without a cause”, which shows that the traditional medical system is completely blind when it comes to treating acid reflux.