Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition, where acid from the stomach leaks up into the esophagus(gullet). It usually occurs as a result of the ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus becoming weakened. Read more about the causes of Gastroesophageal reflux. GERD causes symptoms such as heartburn and an unpleasant taste in the back of the mouth. It may just be an occasional nuisance for some people, but for others, it can be a severe, lifelong problem. GERD can often be controlled with self-help measures and medication. Occasionally, surgery to correct the problem may be needed.
Everyone has experienced gastro-esophageal reflux. It happens when you burp, have an acid taste in your mouth or have heartburn. However, if these symptoms interfere with your daily life it is time to see your physician.
Other symptoms that occur less frequently but can indicate that you could have GERD are:
· Acid regurgitation (retasting your food after eating)
· Difficulty or pain when swallowing
· Sudden excess of saliva
· Chronic sore throat
· Laryngitis or hoarseness
· Inflammation of the gums
· Bad breath
· Chest pain (seek immediate medical help)
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is caused by frequent acid reflux.
When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. Then the sphincter closes again. If the sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, often causing it to become inflamed.
· Conditions that can increase your risk of GERD include:
· Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatalhernia)
· Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
· Delayed stomach emptying
· Factors that can aggravate acid reflux include:
· Eating large meals or eating late at night
· Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods
· Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
· Taking certain medications, such as aspirin
Over time, chronic inflammation in your esophagus can cause:
Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture). Damage to the lower esophagus from stomach acid causes scar tissue to form. The scar tissue narrows the food pathway, leading to problems with swallowing.
An open sore in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer).Stomach acid can wear away tissue in the esophagus, causing an open sore to form. An esophageal ulcer can bleed, cause pain and make swallowing difficult.
Precancerous changes to the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus). Damage from acid can cause changes in the tissue lining the lower esophagus. These changes are associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
Esophageal impedance test (measures the movement of substances in the esophagus)
Diagnosis of Gastro esophegeal reflux
Several tests may be used to diagnose GERD including:
X-ray of the upper digestive system
Endoscopy (examines the inside of the esophagus)
Ambulatory acid (pH) test (monitors the amount of acid in the esophagus)
Treatments for GERD
The main treatments for GERD are:
self-help measures – this includes eating smaller but more frequent meals, avoiding any foods or drinks that trigger your symptoms, raising the head of your bed, and keeping to a healthy weight
over-the-countermedicines – ask your pharmacist to recommend an antacid or an alginate
strongerprescription medicines– including proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs)
You may only need to take medication when you experience symptoms, although long-term treatment may be needed if the problem continues. Surgery to stop stomach acid leaking into your esophagus may be recommended if medication isn’t helping, or you don’t want to take medication on a long-term basis.
Foods that may help GERD symptoms
Until currently, GERD changed into no longer very well understood. There was little medical evidence to signify that converting the food plan could exchange the signs. A 2013 look at of over 500 humans observed that some ingredients appear to lessen the prevalence of GERD signs and symptoms.
Foods that may reduce symptoms of GERD include:
- Protein from low-cholesterol sources such as tuna, salmon, cashews, almonds, and lentils
- Certain carbohydrates, found in natural fruits, vegetables, and some grains
- Vitamin C, for example in potatoes, may help to reduce symptoms
- Fruits such as berries, apples, melons, peaches, citrus fruits, and tomatoes may help
- Eggs, despite their cholesterol content, appear to reduce GERD symptoms
- The fiber in the diet has been linked to fewer GERD symptoms. Researchers have noted that as people increase the levels of dietary fiber in their diet, the symptoms of GERD decrease.
Foods to Avoid if You Have GERD:
Foods that commonly cause allergies, intolerances or sensitivities: processed dairy products (raw or fermented dairy may be well-tolerated), grains and/or food products containing gluten, sometimes eggs or nuts, and synthetic ingredients found in processed foods.
Caffeinated drinks and carbonated drinks: These are often sweetened and also contain air which can make belching or gas pains associated with GERD worse. Some people also feel worsened symptoms after consuming egg whites or whipped cream which can trap air inside the GI tract.
Alcohol: Depending on your specific reaction, beer, wine, and liquor may all contribute to symptoms, especially when consumed close to bedtime.
- Cocoa and chocolate
- High-sodium foods
- Very fatty foods, such as fast foods, cheese, processed meats, and fried foods
- Refined grain products, including packaged snacks like cookies, chips, cereal bars, etc.
- Sometimes spicy foods, such as those made with cayenne, cinnamon, chili pepper, hot sauce, etc.
- Citrus fruits or juices
- Tomatoes or food products made with tomatoes
- In some cases garlic, onions or peppermint
Other Tips For Following a GERD Diet & Lifestyle:
- Eat Smaller Meals & Slow Down!
- Don’t Eat Close to Bedtime
- Increase Your Water Intake
- Keep away from Tight-fitting Clothing
- Manage Stress & Get Enough Relaxation
- Cease Smoking & Be Careful About Alcohol Consumption
- Get Regular Exercise
- Reach & Maintain A Healthy Weight
- Raise The Head of Your Bed
- Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medications