GERD: All you need to know about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease & Treatment

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter around the stomach where acid frequently flows back into the tube that connects into the mouth and stomach. The acid reflux generally irritates the lining of your oesophagus. Recent studies also show that GERD in infants and children is now more common than previously and may produce recurrent vomiting, coughing, and other respiratory problems.  What you do not know is that these are also a sign of chronic digestive disease.

 Having a huge meal can cause heartburn, indigestion, regurgitation or reflux.If the following symptoms occur on a regular basis, you may have GERD or  gastroesophageal reflux disease.

  • Heartburn
  • Reflux
  • Regurgitation
  • An acidic taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent pneumonia
  • Cough
  • Voice changes
  • Chest pain
  • Adult-onset asthma

 What causes GERD?

 One of the most common causes of GERD is a temporary or permanent loss of function in the lower esophageal sphincter or the LES. When it works properly, it opens up to allow liquids and food to pass through the stomach and closes it immediately to prevent the contents of the stomach from going back in the wrong way or backwards into the mouth. When the LES does not function properly, the acid may go up and cause irritation of the oesophagus which can cause heartburn or other symptoms. If left untreated, it can lead to many complications such as the following

  1. Inflammation of the oesophagus
  2. Impaired quality of life
  3. Scarring of the lungs and oesophagus lining
  4. Asthma-like symptoms
  5. Esophageal cancer

 Conditions that can increase your risk of GERD include:

  • Obesity
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
  • Pregnancy
  • Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
  • Delayed stomach emptying

 How to treat GERD

 In most cases, GERD can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may be required to take up medication or surgery. Doctors generally recommend lifestyle and dietary changes for most people who will be needing treatment for GERD. The treatment is aimed at decreasing the amount of reflux or reducing damage to the lining of the oesophagus. Foods and beverages that are consumed mostly that irritate the damaged esophageal lining, such as citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, pepper, should be avoided if they cause symptoms.

 Over the counter, anti-acid medications work in neutralizing stomach acid and is best for mild, infrequent symptoms alone. Stronger medication may work as it stops the production of stomach acid. Dr Vinoth of Mint Hospitals suggests that if you use any blockers or PPIs for more than about 8 weeks and symptoms still persist, they can come to visit him as he specialized in the treatment of GERD by Best Laparoscopy treatment in chennai. Because of the underlying cause of GERD which is a problem in the LES, some patients would be treated with surgery such as laparoscopy or a sphincter augmentation.  Schedule an appointment at: 044 24466722