Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also referred to as GERD for short, is a health condition where stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus. Though most individuals will experience some amount of acid reflex at some point in time, those with GERD tend to experience it once a week at minimum—this GERD can sometimes be mild, moderate, or severe. Some individuals are able to properly manage their condition by making adjustments to their lifestyles, other individuals may need special care to combat the symptoms their experiencing. For more information about GERD, keep reading.
What Symptoms Are Associated with GERD?
As a general rule, this condition will manifest as a burning sensation, which is more formally known as heartburn. This feeling can get worse at night, and it is particularly predominant after consuming a meal. Individuals with GERD commonly report chest pain, difficultly swallowing, and the feeling like there is a lump in their throat. In some instances, individuals may regurgitate stomach acid or food. Though these symptoms may occur in most individuals on an irregular basis, special care is necessary when the symptoms become severe or frequent.
What Exactly Causes GERD?
There are some foods that can trigger acid reflux, such as fried or fatty foods. Consuming large or heavy meals late at night or consuming coffee or alcohol can lead to GERD-related side effects as well. In individuals with GERD, though, the sphincter—which is located at the bottom of your esophagus—malfunctions, resulting in the backflow of ill-tasting stomach acid. This can be due to a number of medical or structural conditions, such as connective tissue disorders, a hiatal hernia, or even obesity. In some cases, pregnant women will experience GERD.
How Is GERD Treated?
Specialists are able to utilize advanced imaging techniques and tests to their advantage to help determine the culprit behind your GERD. An adequate GERD treatment plan will be developed based on the underlying cause. In some instances, over-the-counter antacids or other medications may suffice when it comes to reducing the mild symptoms related to GERD. However, in more severe instances, treatment like prescription drugs or surgery may be necessary, which can help to strength the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus.
If you believe you are suffering from GERD and have more questions about the symptoms, what causes it, or the potential treatment options, get in touch with a professional health care provider in your area today.