Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It is a long term condition that usually follows a chronic relapsing course. Foods we take have an effect on the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Causes: This occurs due to the inability of adequate closure of the lower esophageal sphincter.
Food (fatty food, greasy food or spicy food)
– Avoid overeating.
– Make sure you eat more than 3-4 hours before going to bed.
– Overweight individuals should lose weight.
– Tight wears around the abdomen should be avoided.
Heart burn is due to acid reflux causing burning pain in the chest
Sore throat, this is a burning sensation at the tissue wall of the throat which is caused by the acid and if it persists it can lead to difficulty in swallowing.
Stomach acid irritates the esophagus and can reach the back of the throat and upper airway causing a cough reflex, continuous reflux of the stomach acid can lead to dry cough.
Acid backing up to the mouth or throat causing a sour or bitter taste
These include esophageal erosion, esophageal ulcer and narrowing of the esophagus.
The esophageal lining or epithelium may be replaced with abnormal (Barrett’s) epithelium.
Barrett’s epithelium has been linked to cancer of the esophagus.
Upper gastrointestinal series
Esophageal PH monitoring
Diet and lifestyle changes
Medications like Histamine receptor blockers( Cimetidine) Proton pump inhibitors ( Omeprazole ) Anti-cholinergics ( Atropine ), Antacids ( Aluminum hydroxide gel, Gaviscon )etc. will be prescribed.
If these have no effect and symptoms are severe, surgery is usually recommended.