Can You Tell if You're Suffering from GERD?

It’s common for people to have the occasional bout of heartburn. That burning feeling in the upper stomach and esophagus is certainly not a comfortable one. However, some people repeatedly suffer from heartburn and acid reflux as the acid in the stomach returns back up the esophagus. The people who are suffering from repetitive cases of heartburn and acid reflux are suffering from GERD. 

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. People who have GERD are dealing with cases of acid reflux at least a couple of times each week. In cases of serious acid reflux, just one attack of acid reflux per week can be enough. While GERD is usually managed through some basic medication and changes to lifestyle, serious cases may require more serious treatment. 

Causes of GERD

People who suffer from GERD get it because they have repeated Acid Reflux. The muscle at the bottom of the esophagus relaxes and weakens. From there, the acid comes back up the throat. This inflames the esophagus and makes it quite painful. 

There are more than a few risk factors which can increase the chance of getting GERD. Many of these can also lead to bouts of heartburn. Risk factors for GERD include: 

  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatal Hernia - This is a bulging of the stomach into the diaphragm. 
  • Obesity
  • Scleroderma - This is a connective tissue disorder. Other connective tissue disorders can also cause a problem. 
  • Delaying The Process of Stomach Emptying

There are also many different factors which can come into play in regards to causing acid reflux. People who smoke can be causing themselves acid reflux. Eating habits play a big role too. Especially large meals or eating late at night before laying down can cause acid reflux. Fatty foods can cause a problem as well, since they take longer to digest and more acid is released. Alcohol and coffee are beverages with a long history of causing acid reflux. 

Symptoms of GERD

There’s plenty of signs of GERD that can be experienced. Unsurprisingly the main symptom is suffering from heartburn. Heartburn can be worse at night or right after eating. Some of the other potential symptoms include: 

  • Pain in the chest
  • Trouble swallowing 
  • Regurgitating food or sour liquid after eating
  • Feeling like there’s a lump in the throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • Suffering from laryngitis
  • Getting asthma or having asthma worsen
  • Sleep being disturbed

Treatment of GERD

In most cases, treatment is going to start with some simple over the counter medication. Basic ones are common medications designed to neutralize the amount of stomach acid. There are also over the counter medications which work to actually reduce the amount of acid that’s being produced. These tend to be sold side by side on the pharmacy shelves, so it’s good to speak with your pharmacist and doctor to determine which is helpful. There are also some stronger over the counter medications which block acid strongly while attempting to allow the esophagus to heal up. If necessary, there are prescription medications which can be applied. In addition to doing similar jobs as those from over the counter medications, there are also medications which can try to strengthen the muscle dividing the esophagus from the stomach. 

Changing lifestyle is an important part of GERD and avoiding acid reflux. People will need to stop smoking and avoid lying down after meals. Also, eating food slowly and chewing well can reduce acid reflux. Altering diet is also important to avoid the kinds of food that are triggers of acid reflux. Sleep is when things are the worst. By elevating the head higher than the body, it can keep acid reflux from easily travelling back up the esophagus.

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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