GERD – Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease
What is Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called as GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach. The esophagus is responsible to carry food from the mouth to the stomach.
When refluxed stomach acid reaches the lining of the esophagus it causes a burning sensation in the chest called as heartburn. However, occasional heartburn is normal and does not mean one had GERD. And heartburn that occurs twice a week can be termed as GERD.
Anyone of us can have GERD.
Why Does Backflow Occur?
The backflow occurs when the valve in the lower end of the esophagus and the stomach does not close.
Symptoms of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease:
The most common symptom of GERD of all the symptoms is heartburn, the burning sensation in your chest, which sometimes spreads to the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth. Other signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- Chest pain, especially at night while lying down
- Difficulty swallowing
- Coughing, wheezing, asthma, hoarseness or sore throat
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
What Causes of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease?
Constant acid can irritate the lining of your esophagus, causing it to become inflamed. Over time, the inflammation can erode the esophagus, producing bleeding, or narrow the esophagus, causing difficulty swallowing or even breathing problems. When there’s evidence of esophageal irritation or inflammation, you have GERD.
The other factors that causes GERD:
- Large meals
- Lying down after eating food
- Food such as fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate and caffeine
GERD and Running?
Running can increase the chances of GERD. It can increase GERD because it jostles the stomach and can slow gastric emptying and digestion.
To prevent GERD, while running eat a small amount of low-fat meal at least an hour before you start running. Fatty foods can lead to heartburn. Maintaining good running posture will also help.
How Is GERD Diagnosed?
Diagnose for infantile GERD involves the following:
Barium swallow radiograph – A barium swallow radiograph uses an x-rays to help detect abnormalities such as hiatal hernia and any severe inflammation of the esophagus. The test involves drinking a solution and then taking x-rays. Problems can be detected in its early stage.
Upper endoscopy – It is performed in a doctor’s clinic. The doctor will numb your throat and slide down a thin, flexible plastic tube called endoscope. A camera is fixed in the endoscope, which allows doctor to see the surface of esophagus and help determine the abnormalities.
GERD Treatment Options
In order to treat GERD you need to do the following:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Loss weight
- Eat small meals
The doctor will recommend the antacids, which you can buy without any prescription, to help stop acid production. Antacids such as Mylanta and Tums are usually the first drugs recommended to relieve from heartburn and other GERD symptoms.
H2 blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB), nizatidine (Axid AR), and ranitidine (Zantac 75), impede acid production. They are available in prescription strength and over the counter. They are effective for about half of those who have GERD symptoms.