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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease | GERD

May 4th, 2015

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease | GERD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease | GERD

A chronic digestive disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder in which stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus, irritating the lining of the food pipe. GERD occurs when the muscular valve that connects the stomach with the esophagus fails to close properly or opens at the wrong time.

GERD Symptoms

GERD is a condition in which you tend to experience heartburn or acid/non-acid taste in the mouth when you burp. The prime cause of this disorder is the overwhelming of esophageal defenses into stomach contents. This causes reflux of acid into the esophagus.
A band of muscles in the stomach and esophagus acts as a barrier to prevent acidic reflux into the esophagus. If the barrier is compromises or relaxed at inappropriate times, reflux occurs.
While periodic heartburn is a common symptom, some other symptoms of the disorder include:

  • Meat Consumption and Prostate Cancer ImageAcid regurgitation
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Sudden excess of saliva
  • Cavities
  • Laryngitis or hoarseness
  • Chest pain
  • Bad breath
  • Belching
  • Dysphagia or the feeling that food is stuck in the esophagus
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Sour taste
  • Erosion of teeth enamel
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic irritation in the throat

GERD Diagnosis

Exercise and Bladder Cancer Survival ImageThe back-flow of acidic or non-acidic stomach contents into the food pipe can be an irksome condition.  The disorder can be diagnoses by performing:

  • Endoscopy to examine the esophagus interior
  • X-ray of the upper digestive system
  • Ambulatory acid (pH) test
  • Esophageal impedance test to evaluate movement of substances in the food pipe

The majority of GERD patients experience mild symptoms, without any visible evidence of damage to the tissue. If the symptoms persist, it is important to consult your doctor. Untreated, long-lasting gastroesophageal reflux disease risks damaging the esophagus permanently and can sometimes lead to cancer.

GERD Treatment

It is important to make some lifestyle changes to treat the symptoms of GERD. The following changes to your lifestyle can help:

  • Weight loss and management
  • Elevation of head side of your bed by 6-8 inches
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Avoid heavy evening meals or dinner
  • Avoid lying down immediately after eating

Your doctor may prescribe some over-the-counter drugs. However, in severe cases of GERD, surgery may be needed.

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