GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases.
GERD occurs when stomach acid regularly backflow into the esophagus, the esophagus is also called food pipe. Due to regular backflow of stomach acid, the lining of esophagus get irritated or rapture which causes inflammation of the esophagus. If you are aware of reflux symptoms then you can easily understand that whether you have GERD or not.
When stomach acid content refluxed and touch the lining of the esophagus which causes the burning sensation in the throat or chest that is called heartburn. The acid may taste into the mouth and this is called acid indigestion.
GERD occurs in all category of age group.
CAUSE OF GERD
There is a valve which is a circular muscle band at the bottom of the esophagus called lower esophageal sphincter (LES), it prevents the backflow of stomach content into the mouth if it weakens or gets loose due to many reasons backflow of stomach content generally happens.
There are many factors which increase the risk of GERD-
- Obesity or overweight– It increases the pressure on the stomach which is one of the reasons for regurgitation of acid content.
- Medication- There is a certain class of medicine which increase the chance of GERD like-Calcium, asthma medicine, painkiller, antidepressant etc….
- Stomach emptying for the longest time.
- Hital Hernia-When upper part of your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm into the chest cavity that condition is called Hiatal Hernia.
Lifestyle is also one of the major factors for GERD Like-
- Smoking- Smoking reduces the ability of Lower esophageal sphincter to work properly.
- Eating habits at late night and the large meal.
- There are certain foods which induce acid reflux or GERD like – fatty and fried foods, chocolate, garlic, onion, mint, caffeine, citrus foods etc..
- Tight fitting clothes around your waist put a pressure on your stomach which causes acid reflux.
REFLUX SYMPTOMS OR SYMPTOMS OF GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux diseases)
There are two kinds of symptoms
Typical symptoms of GERD
- Heart Burn
- Chest pain
- Dysphagia (Difficulty in swallowing)
- Nausea (Feeling like vomiting)
Atypical symptoms of GERD
- A chronic cough
- Noncardiac chest pain
- Dental Erosion
- Laryngitis (Inflammation of the voice cord)
- Sleep apnea
COMPLICATION DUE TO GERD
If GERD persist for a long time it causes some of the complications –
- ESOPHAGITIS –It is the inflammation in the esophagus.
- ESOPHAGEAL STRICTURE-Due to GERD esophagus become narrow and tighten.
- RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS – Due to the backflow of stomach acid into the Lungs, its cause some of the problems including chest congestion, laryngitis, hoarseness etc…
- BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS-Stomach acid cause some changes in the tissue lining of Lower Esophagus. These changes can cause the risk of esophageal cancer.
- Avoid beverages and foods that can cause heartburn, such as coffee, chocolates, fatty foods, sour and spicy foods, and alcohol
- Avoid overeating
- Eat smaller meals
- Don’t lie down within 3 hours of eating
- Maintain ideal weight
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Do not take stress or entertain negative thoughts
Management of Reflux Symptoms
- Lifestyle modifications like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and alcohol may improve symptoms related to GERD
- Antacids, such as Almunium hydroxide etc. may provide quick relief
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprazole etc. decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach
- H2 blockers such as Ranitidine lowers the amount of acid released in the stomach
- Anti-reflux surgery may be an option for patients whose symptoms do not go away with lifestyle changes and drugs
Points to Remember
- Avoid drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
- Drink plenty of water with all the medicines
- Maintain healthy eating habits and the optimum body weight
- Relaxation helps in removing stress and anxiety
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
Related article – Best Food Habit that can halt GERD or Acidity