May 4th, 2015
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 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:
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.
It is important to make some lifestyle changes to treat the symptoms of GERD. The following changes to your lifestyle can help:
Your doctor may prescribe some over-the-counter drugs. However, in severe cases of GERD, surgery may be needed.