Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

What Is Acid Reflux And GERD?

When there is the backflow of acid present in the stomach to the esophagus, acid reflux occurs. The esophagus is a thin tube that connects the mouth from the stomach. 

Acid reflux can lead to agility in the esophagus. Many people experience this frequently. When the condition occurs more than twice a week, consult your healthcare specialists straightaway.

Most people can relieve the symptoms of GERD just by making slight lifestyle changes or by taking over-the-counter medicines. Very few people need powerful medications or surgeries for the disease. 

Acid reflux and GERD can lead to agility in the oesophagus, learn about the conditon in detail.

What Are The Warning Signs And Symptoms Of GERD?

One of the most common gastroesophageal disease symptoms is Heartburn. You will have a sensation of burning chest pain that begins at the back of your breastbone and move upwards to neck and throat. 

The heartburn may last for over 2 hours and worsen, especially after having meals.

How To Relieve Heartburn?

  • By standing straight
  • By taking an antacid (It eradicates acid from the esophagus). 

Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Sense of formation of a lump in the throat
  • Vomiting

Symptoms for nighttime acid reflux:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • Interrupted sleep

 

What Causes Of GERD?

The exact GERD causes are not yet confirmed. But, certain things can worsen the condition, either by easing the lower esophageal sphincter or directly by making the esophagus irksome. 

Eating Habits

  • Eating heavy meals
  • Eating right before your bedtime

Diet

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolates
  • Fried & fatty food
  • Drinks containing caffeine
  • Citrus fruits
  • Mint flavorings

Lifestyle

  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor posture

Medications

  • Theophylline
  • Aspirin
  • Antihistamines
  • Nitrates

Other Medical Conditions

  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatal Hernia

 

What Types Of Doctors Treats GERD?

Initially, you can go to your general healthcare specialist for the diagnosis of the disease. Depending upon the severity of the condition, he may recommend consultation from the following doctors - a gastroenterologist, a surgeon, or a radiologist.

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in treating several diseases concerned with the gastrointestinal tract. 

A general surgeon may be recommended if your condition is worsening with time, and requires surgery.

A radiologist is responsible for carrying out certain specific diagnostic tests for GERD. 

 

How Is GERD Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose the disease just by knowing your symptoms and a physical examination. He can perform one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

1. Upper Endoscopy

The doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube down your throat. The tube has a light and a camera that helps visualize the inside of the stomach and esophagus. 

The result of this test may appear as usual even when there is an acid reflux present. The purpose of the test is to identify the inflammation of the diagnosis and other complications. 

2. Ambulatory Acid Probe Test

With this test, a doctor can detect and treat the condition of acid reflux — a small, thin tube inserts into the esophagus that forms a link between the mouth and stomach. 

This test measures the amount of acid that backflows from the stomach to the esophagus in a 24-hour timeframe. 

The test is appropriate for people whose symptoms of GERD is not getting relieved with medication. 

3. Esophageal Manometry

It is performed to detect the problems with pressure and movement of the esophagus that may develop symptoms like heartburn. 

Esophageal manometry provisions the muscle coordination and strength of the food pipe(or esophagus) while swallowing food. 

4. X-ray Of Upper Digestive System

For this test, the doctor will first ask you to drink a thick barium solution. It coats the inside of the digestive tract, thereby helping the doctor analyze it better. 

The doctor can even ask you to swallow a barium pill to detect if the esophagus has narrowed down. 

Also Read: Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: A Beginner’s Guide

Treatment Alternatives for GERD

At the outset, the doctor will suggest some lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. If there is no or minimal improvement in your condition, the doctor will recommend some prescription drugs or surgery to get the condition treated. 

 

OTC Medications

1. Antacids: These drugs usually don’t need any prescription. It neutralizes the amount of acid in the stomach and provides quick but temporary relief. 

People consume antacids in varying doses as per the health requirement. Some of the examples of antacids are listed below:

  • Rolaids (calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide)
  • Mylanta (Aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide )
  • Tums (calcium carbonate)

2. H2 Blockers: These drugs can help in reducing the acid from the stomach. You will not experience quick relief by utilizing H2 blockers, but the effect persists for about 12 hours. 

The doctor usually suggests this medicine along with antacids to relieve the symptoms of heartburn after meals. Examples of H2 blockers include:

  • Pepcid (famotidine)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)

A stronger strength of the drugs needs a prescription from a doctor. 

3. Proton Pump Inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors(PPI) are very effective in blocking the production of acid in the stomach. These drugs are suitable for those people who suffer from frequent heartburn. 

PPIs are known to be the best treatment, which provides relief from GERD symptoms and helps the esophagus to heal. 

Examples of over-the-counter medicines for this category include:

  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole)

 

Prescription Medicines

Following are the prescription-strength medications available for the treatment of GERD:

1. H2 Blockers: The prescription-strength medications of H2 blockers come under this category. According to recent studies, taking H2 blockers twice daily can help ease the symptoms in nearly half of the population suffering from GERD.

Long-haul usage of these drugs can make you deficit of vitamin B12 nutrient, leading to bone fractures.

Examples include prescription-strength drugs of:

  • Pepcid (famotidine)
  • Zantac (ranitidine)

2. PPIs: Prescription-strength drugs of following medicines come under this category-

  • Prevacid (lansoprazole)
  • Prilosec (omeprazole)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Aciphex (Rabeprazole)
  • Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)

 

Surgery And Other Methods

1. Fundoplication: This is a type of laparoscopic surgery in which a surgeon wraps the top section of your stomach around the LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter). It tightens the muscles and reduces acid reflux. 

Fundoplication can control the acid reflux for a comparatively long-term as compared to any other treatment alternative. 

2. LINX Device: It is a modern alternative discovered for the treatment of GERD. The surgeon winds a ring of small magnetic titanium around the junction where esophagus links to the stomach. 

The ring ensures that food is passing into the stomach and closes that region when no food is present there. 





Sources:

 

https://www.healthline.com/

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

 

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/

 

https://www.webmd.com/

 

https://www.everydayhealth.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: Gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment, Foods that cause acid reflux, GERD Diet


Annie is the oldest writer at Cheap Medicine Shop and is the subject and publishing expert. She has a graduate degree in medicines along with a diploma in creative writing.

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