by MarshaneilSoumi D’ Rozario | 10th July, 2019
Do you often experience chest pain? Find it difficult to swallow your food? Then beware! It could be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). One may suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) tends to irritate the lining of your esophagus. Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion owing to GERD.Dr Roy Patankar, leading Gastroenterologist & Director of Zen Hospital discusses the symptoms and ways to counter GERD.
The acid in the esophagus causes heartburn and other symptoms, as well as possible tissue damage. One may suffer from it if one is obese, because of increased pressure on the abdomen.Certain medications can also invite this condition. Moreover, smoking, and being exposed to second-hand smoke, can also put you at the risk of it. According to a study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, GERD symptoms are more frequent in patients with NERD than in those with Reflux Esophagitis. However, men suffer pathologic diseases such as Reflux Esophagitis, Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (EAC) more frequently than women. The prevalence of Reflux Esophagitis is significantly increased with age in women, especially after their 50s.
• Heartburn:Heartburn is discomfort felt behind the breastbone due to a burning sensation. It tends to get worse if the person lies down or bends over, and also eating food.
• Nausea / Vomiting
• Gum inflammation: Sometimes the teeth also erode due to the acid reflux.
• Bad breath, respiratory problems, cavities, sudden excess of saliva, acid regurgitation and difficulty or pain when swallowing.
• Hoarseness or sore throat: When stomach acid moves up the esophagus, it may irritate one’s vocal cords. This is often worse in the morning, after lying down all night, and may subside during the day.
• The danger symptoms are weight loss and black coloured stools. You may need to get an endoscopy done to rule out cancer.
• GERD can be treated with medications before attempting other lines of treatment.Protonpump, blockers like esomeprazole or pantoprazole should not be taken beyond one year as they may have some consequences in the long term.
• You must eat in moderation, and avoid going overboard: Large meals fill the stomach and put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), making reflux and GERD more likely.
• Make sure that you do not eat food 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
• Cut down on smoking and alcohol: The nicotine in cigarettes can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. That muscle controls the opening between your esophagus and your stomach. Alcohol can also cause the esophageal muscles to spasm.
• Get rid of excess fat: Obesity is the leading cause of GERD. Extra stomach fat places pressure on your abdomen, pushing gastric juices up into your esophagus.
• Avoid wearing clothing that is tight around the abdomen, and sleep at a slight angle with the head slightly elevated.
• Cut down on certain foods like greasy and spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint, coffee and alcohol which can trigger GERD by causing heartburn.
• Maintain a diary: Jot down when your heartburn hits and the specific things you're doing when you experience it.
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