Gastro Esophagus Reflux Disease (GERD) – Causes and Treatments
At least once in our life we have all experienced an acute burning sensation in our esophagus, where it seems like we are literally on fire. Some are lucky to experience this feeling rarely. However, some people are not so lucky. Their experiences are far too common, going to a point where it’s almost part of their lives. This sensation of burning is known as Gastroesophagus Reflux Disease. Technically speaking it is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a ring of muscle between our esophagus and the stomach. Many people suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion.
Doctors believe that it can be caused by a condition called Hiatel Hernia. Simply speaking, in a moderate condition, GERD can be treated by home remedies, lifestyle changes, and diet regulation. If, however, the condition is beyond moderate, it needs medication or even surgery.
What is Gastro Esophagus Reflux Disease?
It is important to understand what Gastroesophagus Reflux is. Gastro esophagus refers to our stomach and Esophagus. Reflux means the returning of something. So, gastro esophagus reflux means returning of the contents of our stomach through the esophagus. In a normal situation, whatever we eat goes down the esophagus, getting smaller and smaller, and into the stomach. The LES opens up to let the food go down and closes immediately so that the stomach acids do not travel back up the esophagus, thus preventing any reflux.
People suffering from GERD have a slight defect here. for them, the LES is either unable to close on time or is not able to function properly due to any reason, letting the stomach acids and fluids pass into the esophagus, thus causing major reflux and heartburn. The severity of GERD condition depends on the LES dysfunction. If you feel that you too are facing heartburn way more than you should, you can go through refluxmd. They have every kind of information you might need to get going.
Symptoms of Gastro Esophagus Reflux Disease
Heartburn is a popular, non-medical term. It is often referred to as Pyrosis in the medical terminologies. The most commonly known symptoms of GERD are Heartburn and Indigestion. Indigestion refers to the condition when you are unable to hold down anything. Vomiting repeatedly is common with Indigestion. At times breathlessness, difficulty in swallowing food also becomes a common occurrence. Indigestion and dysphagia leads to reduced food intake. This causes nutritional deficiencies. In severe cases it might also lead to weight loss. If you notice that you have lost weight without any efforts for the same, you can blame GERD for it. There could be other complications too, and the symptoms may overlap with one another.
Other symptoms include stomach cramps, dyspepsia, vomiting, and hoarseness of the voice, sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty in swallowing food.
Refluxmd can give you an entire list of mild to moderate GERD symptoms and signs that you can lookout for.
Treatments Of GERD
In mild cases of GERD, as experienced occasionally, home remedies work just fine. You can treat mild Heartburn or Acid reflux by having a cup of cold milk or eating fruits that help you balance out the acids in the esophagus. There are other such home remedies available on Refluxmd which can treat these.
If, you are experiencing a moderate heartburn, indigestion, or if it is happening more frequently, you might need a few medicines that can treat you. Doctors available on Refluxmd can also prescribe those for you. You can also opt for Over the Counter medications for immediate relief in a moderate case.
However, if you have a severe case of heartburn, or difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing food, or the condition is a regular affair, you might need to visit a doctor and seek help. Severe cases of GERD can be due to a condition called Hiatel Hernia.
Dietary Changes that Can help ease GERD
It is often found that excessive consumption of foods that are high in fats, which includes fried or have high sugar contains lead to Acid reflux. It is, thus, advisable to reduce the consumption of these.
Beverages like tea, coffee or alcohol is not recommended in severe cases of heartburn. Also, intake of foods like chocolate, peppermint and fatty foods should be avoided. One should also take care as to consume foods that are healthy for an already irritated esophagus. Foods which have high content of citrus like lemon or orange will only aggravate the situation. You should also try to steer clear of pepper and other dishes which have high pepper requirement, tomato, tomato puree, tomato products, and fruit juices high in citrus will lead to an even weaker LES.
Decreasing the size of meal portions is highly advisable. This gives your stomach to better digest the food consumed. Small quantities of food mean that you will get hungry again in a couple of hours. This leads to better digestion as well as absorption of all the nutrients that you have consumed. Since, quantity is not much, all the food is digested properly, without any reflux, helping you feel satiated as well as keeps your LES working properly. Having a gap of at least 3 hours between your meal and bed time is also essential to keep acid reflux and heartburn under control. Another important aspect to remember is that having plenty of water helps us to digest food better and faster. Better digestion leads to less stomach acid secretion, thus reducing the chances of a reflux.
One should include yogurt, fresh fruits like apple, banana, and a fistful of nuts in your everyday diet regime. These are rich in nutrients as well as make you feel full faster. These also initiate a better digestion.
Refluxmd has an entire list of diet changes that help in tackling GERD from stage one itself. One can find almost all data related to GERD including information about stages of GERD, diet and lifestyle changes required, doctors available. You can also see your symptoms and assess yourself from the information available on refluxmd.