Gastro Sciences | by CMRI | Published on 28/07/2021
GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a medical condition that occurs when the acid in the stomach flows back into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach in the body. This frequent flow back of acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus.
However, this condition is considered normal and can occur in people of all ages, especially senior citizens. Averagely a person experiences mild acid reflux at least twice a week and severe acid reflux once a week. But in most cases, the condition is manageable with specific lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But in some cases, GERD may require strong treatments, such as surgery to treat the symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can range from mild to severe depending on the condition of the patient. Some of the common symptoms of the problem include:
Typically, the human body has a lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is the form of a round band of muscle. The LES is located at one end of the esophagus and normally relaxes and opens when the food is swallowed. After the process, the esophagus tightens and closes.
Acid reflux occurs when this normal functioning of the esophagus is disturbed and the LES does not close properly or tightens irregularly. This pushes the digestive juices from the stomach back to the esophagus.
To confirm the symptoms, the doctor will conduct a physical exam and also assess the symptoms experienced. Moreover, based on the analysis, the doctor will further use any of the below procedures to confirm the diagnosis or evaluate any complications:
To treat GERD and related symptoms, the healthcare provider will ask the patient to make certain lifestyle modifications, especially in diet, eating habits and other behaviors. Moreover, specific over-the-counter medications can be used to relieve discomfort.
The patient will be advised to refrain from the following food and beverages that can trigger GERD:
However, in cases, where GERD does not respond to non-invasive treatments, the healthcare provider might recommend surgery. But in most cases, general lifestyle changes are enough to prevent the issue.
That said, in patients that experience complications of GERD, surgery may be the only option. There are multiple types of surgeries to treat GERD.
Some people are at a higher risk of having GERD than others. These including:
Moreover, specific lifestyle habits also increase the risk of GERD in people:
Generally, GERD is highly manageable and does not cause any significant complications. However, in some cases, the problem can cause life-threatening complications.
To minimize the complications from GERD, it is important to prevent the triggers and get appropriate treatment from a healthcare provider for GERD.
Specific lifestyle changes and home remedies such as those below can help relieve GERD symptoms. Some steps in this direction could include:
Moreover, in addition to the prescribed medications for GERD, the patient can also take the following herbal remedies to treat GERD:
Overall, it is best to take preventive measures to treat GERD. Moreover, timely consultation with a healthcare provider can help minimize complications, get a long-term cure for GERD, and improve the quality of life.