Acid reflux and GERD

Acid reflux or GERD happens when contents from our stomach move up into our esophagus. It’s also called acid vomiting or gastroesophageal reflux.

Alt=GERD acid reflux image. Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable feeling of burning sensation
GERD

If we have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, we might have a condition known as gastro-o esophageal-reflux

Acid reflux Symptoms

Generally, acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable feeling of burning sensation in our chest, which rises up toward our neck. Similarly, this feeling is often known as heartburn. Particularly if we have acid reflux, we might develop a sour or bitter taste at the back of our mouth. It might also cause us to vomit food or liquid from our stomach to our mouth.

Also in some cases, GERD can cause difficulty swallowing of food. It can sometimes lead to breathing problems such as the feeling of breathless also.

Causes of acid reflux

Especially the lower esophageal is the food pipe, it is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when we swallow food. Such as it works as a valve, just after the food gets down it shuts on its own.

alt= image of GERD acid reflux. When the acid rises up it causes GERD.
GERD

Acid reflux happens when our food pipe doesn’t tighten or close properly. For instance, this allows digestive juices and other contents from our stomach to rise up into our esophagus, which is known as acid reflux, it gives a bitter or sour taste and we may feel burning sensation in the chest area.

Treatment Options

For the most part To prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD, our doctor may encourage us to make changes to our eating habits or other habits.

They might also suggest taking over-the-counter medications, like:

  • antacids
  • H2 receptor blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

In some cases, they might prescribe stronger H2 receptor blockers or PPIs. If GERD is severe and not responding to other treatments, surgery might be final option.

Some over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause side effects. 

Surgery of GERD

Generally, in most of the cases, lifestyle and some habit changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms. But when it does not works than surgery is necessary.

Diagnosing Acid Reflux

As a rule our Doctor conducts a physical exam and asks about the symptom we are experiencing.

They might use one or more of the following procedures mention below to check for complications of Acid Reflux:

  • Barium swallow: after drinking a barium solution, and x-ray imaging is used to see the upper digest tract
  • Upper endoscopy: a flexible tube in which a tiny camera and light is connected is inserted through the mouth and food pipe. It examines and collects a sample of tissue for biopsy if needed.
  • Oesophageal manometer: a flexible tube is put inside to measure the length of the oesophageal muscle
  • Oesophageal pH monitoring: a monitor is inserted into the oesophagus to learn if and when stomach acid enters it

Risk factors of GERD

In conclusion certain conditions can increase your chances of developing GERD, including:

  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • hiatus hernia
  • connective tissue disorders
  • Some lifestyle behaviour scan also raise your risk of GERD, including:
  • smoking
  • eating large meals
  • lying down or going to sleep shortly after eating
  • eating certain types of foods, such as deep fried or spicy foods
  • drinking certain types of beverages, such as soda, coffee, or alcohol
  • using NSAIDS, such as aspirin or ibuprofen

Such as if we have any of these risk factors, taking steps to modify them may help us to prevent or manage GERD. 

Possible complications of GERD

In this case most people, GERD doesn’t cause serious complications. Usually in rare cases, it can lead to serious or even life-threatening health problems.

For the most part hidden complications of GERD include:

  • esophagitis, an inflammation of your oesophagus
  • oesophageal stricture, which happens when your oesophagus narrows or tightens
  • Barrett’s esophagus, involving permanent changes to the lining of your oesophagus
  • Esophageal cancer, which affects a small portion of people with Barrett’s esophagus
  • asthma, chronic cough, or other breathing problems, which may develop if you breath stomach acid into your lungs
  • tooth enamel erosion, gum disease, or other dental problems

Thus, to lower chances of complications, it’s important to take steps to prevent and treat the symptoms of GERD.

Diet and GERD

Generally in some people, certain types of foods and beverages activate the GERD Common dietary triggers include:

  • high-fat foods
  • citrus fruit
  • pineapple
  • tomato
  • onion
  • garlic
  • mint
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • tea
  • soda
  • spicy foods
  • chocolate

By the way dietary food triggers can vary from one person to another. 

Home remedies for GERD

For example there are several lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help relieve GERD symptoms.

For example, it might help to:

  • quit smoking
  • lose excess weight
  • eat smaller meals
  • chew gum after eating
  • lying down after eating should be avoided
  • avoid foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms
  • avoid wearing tight clothing
  • practice relaxation techniques

However some herbal remedies might also provide relief.

Similarly herbs commonly used for GERD include:

  • chamomile
  • licorice root
  • marshmallow root

Anxiety and GERD

in Addition anxiety might make some of the symptoms of GERD worse.

In this case if you suspect that anxiety is making your symptoms worse, should talk to your doctor. Some things you can do to reduce anxiety include:

  • limit our exposure to experiences, people, and places that make you feel anxious
  • In addition to practising relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing exercises
  • In this case, we should adjust our sleep habits, exercise routine, or other lifestyle habits

IBS and GERD

Generally, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can affect your large intestine. For example common symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • Diarrhea

Therefore if you notice both the symptoms IBS and GERD, then we should make an appointment with our doctor. Accordingly, they might recommend changes to our diet, medications, or other treatments. 

Drinking alcohol and GERD

Likewise in some people with GERD, certain foods and drinks can make the symptoms worse. Especially those dietary triggers might include alcoholic beverages.

For the most part, depending on your specific triggers, we might be able to drink alcohol in moderation. To summarize in some people, even small amounts of alcohol provokes symptoms of GERD.

Likewise, If we mix alcohol with fruit juices or other mixers, those mixers might also trigger symptoms. 

Pregnancy and GERD

Above all Pregnancy can increase chances of experiencing acid reflux. If a woman had GERD before getting pregnant than symptoms might get worse.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the muscles in our esophagus to reflux more frequently. Also growing fetus place pressure on your stomach. Similarly, this can increase the risk of stomach acid entering the esophagus.

Many medications that are used to treat acid reflux are safe to take during pregnancy. But in some cases, the doctor might advise, to avoid certain antacids or other treatments

The difference between GERD and heartburn

Generally heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux. Most people experience it from time to time.

But if we get heartburn more than twice a week, we might have GERD.

Hence GERD is a chronic type of acid reflux that can cause complications if left untreated.

3 thoughts on “Acid reflux and GERD”

  1. John Gatesby says:

    I completely agree that being overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle often leads to acidity. Staying away from eating too much, spicy, fried food and consuming alcohol can easily prevent the symptoms.
    John Gatesby recently posted…Do I Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)?My Profile

    1. Usha Gupta says:

      “Thank you – that was really sweet to say.”

  2. Pingback: Gallbladder Problems | Problems and Their Symptoms

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