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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

GERD

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common name

Gastric reflux disease, acid reflux disease (Eng.)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back into the esophagus from the stomach.

Symptoms
  • A heartburn or pain that usually felt in the stomach and moves up towards the chest
  • Pain that worsens when bending over or lying flat on the back
  • Regurgitation or a feeling of acid or food moving back up into the esophagus and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dyspepsia or stomach discomfort, which is characterized by burping, a bloated feeling, nausea after eating and sometimes, abdominal pain
  • Voice hoarseness occurs once the acid goes past the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and reaches the vocal cords
  • Persistent, unexplained cough and asthma
Risk Factors
  • Smoking. It increases acid and gas in the stomach that may lead to frequent opening of the sphincter.
  • Obesity. As a person's weight increases, the waist line or waist circumference increases as well. This increases the pressure within the stomach. It can force the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to open, leading to the reflux of gastric contents.
  • Pregnancy. There is an increase in abdominal pressure in pregnant women.
  • Oral medications such as steroids and anti-asthmatics may increase the risk of acid secretion
  • Diabetes. It directly affects the nerves of the stomach which leads to delayed emptying of the stomach and an increase in acid secretion.
  • Hiatal hernia. A condition wherein part of the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm which allows contents of the stomach to move freely into the esophagus.
  • Hypercalcemia. This condition leads to an increase in production of gastrin, a hormone that leads to increased acid secretion.
  • Scleroderma. A connective tissue disorder that also leads to difficulty in swallowing.
  • Foods that may trigger heartburn such as acidic or citrus foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol, spicy and fatty food, chocolates, tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Antacids helps neutralize stomach acid. Drugs: sodium carbonate, calcium carbonate, aluminum-based antacids, aluminum-magnesium antacids.
  • H2 blockers decrease the amount of acid released in the stomach. Drugs: ranitidine, famotidine, cimetidine
  • Proton pump inhibitors are known for their potent and persistent or long-lasting effect in decreasing gastric acid secretion. Drugs: pantoprazole, omeprazole, rabeprazole, dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole.
Treatment and Management
  • Smoking cessation and avoidance of alcohol beverages
  • Lose weight
  • Exercise. Moderate exercise improves symptom, drink plenty of water before and during exercise.
  • Water may help reduce heartburn by neutralizing gastric acid
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Lessen intake of food that is known to trigger heartburn
  • Eat meals 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime or before lying down
  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Eat slowly and chew food well
Home Remedies
Suggested Readings
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