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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease(GERD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

The Truth About Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition that is also referred to as heartburn, acid indigestion, or pyrosis. It occurs when some of the stomach’s acidic contents ascend into the oesophagus. Acid reflux causes a burning sensation in the lower chest area, which typically occurs after eating.

How Do Heartburn And GERD Develop?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when stomach acid runs back into the tube that connects your mouth and stomach on a frequent basis (oesophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the esophageal lining.

Many people suffer from acid reflux on occasion. Mild acid reflux occurring at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux occurring at least once a week, is classified as GERD.

The majority of patients with GERD can manage their GERD symptoms with lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter medicines. However, some people who suffer from GERD might require harsher drugs or surgery to alleviate symptoms.

How GERD Is Frequently Manifested

  • Acid reflux symptoms may reflect as a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), which occurs most frequently after eating and may be worse at night
  • Pain in the chest
  • Difficulty in swallowing
Swallowing difficulty
  • Food or sour liquid regurgitation
  • Suffering from the sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Persistent cough 
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma 
  • Sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation

What Causes You To Suffer From GERD?

GERD affects people of all ages, and is frequently caused by unknown factors. Often, this is due to a lifestyle routine, but it can also be due to unavoidable circumstances.

A hiatal (or hiatus) hernia is one of the causes that cannot be prevented. A diaphragm hole permits the top portion of the stomach to enter the chest cavity, which can result in GERD.

Additional risk factors are: 

  • obesity
  • cigarette smoking (active or passive)
Smoking Woman
  • Low doses of anti-asthma medicines, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, pain relievers, sedatives, and antidepressants
  • Acid reflux can also occur during pregnancy as a result of the increased strain imposed on the internal organs.
  • Acid reflux has been connected to the following foods and dietary habits:
  1. Caffeine and alcohol consumption 
  2. A high salt intake 
  3. A poor fiber diet 
  4. Eating large meals 
  5. Lying down within two to three hours of having a meal 
  6. Ingesting chocolate, fizzy beverages, and acidic juices

Having GERD Can Actually Affect Your Everyday Life. How Can We Manage This?

1. Over-the-counter medications for acid reflux:

  • According to a recent study, dietary changes may be equally beneficial as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in managing acid reflux.
  • PPIs, such as omeprazole, rabeprazole, and esomeprazole, and H2 blockers, such as cimetidine and famotidine, are used in GERD treatment.
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, are accessible for purchase online.
Pharmacy drugstore
  • The primary therapeutic options for those who experience acid reflux on a regular basis due to GERD are either PPIs or H2 blockers, which are both medicines. PPIs and H2 blockers minimize acid production and the risk of acid reflux-related harm.
  • While these drugs are generally safe and helpful, they are not recommended for everyone with reflux disease as they might produce side effects such as impairment of nutritional absorption. This could result in malnutrition.
  • Drugs containing alginate, such as Gaviscon.

– Gaviscon is likely the most well-known heartburn medication. It acts differently than antacid medications. The makeup of alginate medications such as Gaviscon varies slightly, although they typically contain an antacid.

– Alginic acid acts by generating a frothy gel that rests on top of the gastric pool.

– Any reflux is then generally innocuous due to the fact that it is composed of alginic acid and not stomach acid.Alginate, the active component, occurs naturally in brown algae.

– If you’re looking to purchase Gaviscon, an amazing assortment is accessible online.

2. Additional therapy options include the following:

  • Acid suppressants based on sucralfate
  • Acid-competitive potassium chelators
  • Reducers of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLESR)
  • Agonist of the GABA(B) receptor
  • Antagonist of mGluR5
  • Prokinetic agents
  • Pain modulators 
  • Antidepressants tricyclic
  • Inhibitors of selective serotonin reuptake (SSRIs)
  • Theophylline (a reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine)

3. If GERD is severe and does not respond to medicinal treatment, a surgical procedure called fundoplication may be necessary.

And for sure, lifestyle changes are the most important part in preventing GERDS. Among the lifestyle measures that may be beneficial include the following:

  • Try to lose some weight 
  • Avoiding abdominal pressure, such as from tight belts or practicing sit-up exercises
Loss weight
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Find ways to relax
  • Try enhancing posture, for example, by sitting up straighter and wearing loose clothing;
  • Raise one end of your bed to 10 to 20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress – your chest and head should be above the level of your waist, so stomach acid does not travel up towards your throat

When Should You Consult A Physician?

Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing chest discomfort, particularly if you are also experiencing shortness of breath, jaw, or arm pain. These are possible symptoms and indicators of a heart attack. Make an appointment with your physician if you experience severe or recurrent GERD symptoms.