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Tags: gerd | acid | bile | reflux

Bile, not Acid, Causes GERD Disorder

Thursday, 26 April 2012 10:40 AM EDT

Antacid pills are sold by the millions each year to ease the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
But while acid reflux drugs curb the chronic heartburn brought on by the disorder, the primary cause of cancer-causing Barrett's esophagus -- a condition found in people with GERD – isn’t stomach acid at all, but bile, a new study has found.
The research, published in the Annals of Surgery, shows that bile – a digestive fluid that leaks from the stomach into the throat along with acid in patients with GERD – plays a critical and previously unrecognized role in the development of Barrett's esophagus.
The University of Rochester Medical Center investigators said the finding paves the way for new prevention and treatment options for the condition, which can cause a rare and often deadly type of esophageal cancer.
"Our ultimate goal is to understand the biology of Barrett's so that we may find drugs that inhibit or reverse the condition, thus preventing cancer," said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey H. Peters. "The finding that bile is important is key because current drug therapies for GERD focus largely on acid control."
Acid-reducing drugs called proton pump inhibitors or PPIs are some of the most popular and best-selling drugs in America. While the drugs neutralize stomach acid, they don’t prevent Barrett's esophagus.
Currently, the only way to stop all reflux components, including bile, is surgery to strengthen the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach.

© HealthDay

Stomach acid is not the root of cancer-causing Barrett's esophagus in people with reflux disease.
Thursday, 26 April 2012 10:40 AM
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