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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the ring of the muscle between your esophagus and stomach. This ring is known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES is unable to close itself properly, acid reflux occurs.

This is when acid containing contents in your stomach leak back up into your esophagus, which is the tube connecting your throat to your stomach. The acid backwash flowing up through the esophagus into your throat and mouth can give you a sour taste. If you have symptoms of GERD, make sure to visit a Gastroenterologist in Lahore to get an apt diagnosis and treatment if the need be.

Signs and Symptoms

Research shows that GERD is a common condition, touching at least 20% of the population in the US. Having acid reflux and heartburn isn’t bad. But if you experience both of them more than twice a week, it is possible that you have GERD. So do get yourself checked by a healthcare professional before your condition leads to more serious problems.

Two of the most common symptoms of GERD are the following:

  1. Heartburn

This is a painful burning sensation that is felt in the middle of your chest. It is caused when the stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus. The sensation can be felt at any time but is often worse after eating. For a lot of people, heartburn takes a turn for the worse when they recline or lie in bed, making it hard for them to get good sleep.

1. Regurgitation

This is when the food comes back into your mouth from the esophagus.

Here are some other symptoms of GERD:

  • Coughing
  • Upper abdominal or chest pain
  • Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting

When GERD happens to infants and children they experience these symptoms:

  • Excessive crying
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Frequent, small vomiting episodes
  • Difficulty sleeping after eating (especially in infants)
  • A choking feeling that may wake the child
  • Hoarse throat
  • Other breathing and respiratory difficulties
  • Frequent sour taste of acid, especially when laying down
  • Bad breath

Causes

Gerd is caused by repetitive acid reflux. But there are other conditions that can increase your risk of developing this condition. They include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Connective tissue disorder, such as scleroderma
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach, above the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)

Frequent acid reflux, or the reflux of non-acidic content from your stomach, can lead to GERD. Acid reflux happens when the lower esophageal sphincter weakens. Here are some factors that can lead to this problem:

  • Eating specific types of food, for example dairy, spicy or fried foods
  • Bad eating habits
  • Too much pressure on the abdomen. Research shows that some pregnant women experience heartburn almost every day because of this pressure
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies. This also includes painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants

Treatment

After your Gastroenterologist in Islamabad has diagnosed your GERD, they may consider a wide range of treatment options. These can include recommendations on avoiding triggers, such as certain types of food that can make your GERD symptoms worse. Your doctor might also give you information on proper body positioning, for example maintaining an upright position after eating meals. Other treatment options can include:

  • Over-the-counter and Prescription Medications

These include common GERD medications such as:

  1. Antacids, which provide quick relief by neutralizing stomach acids
  2. H02 receptor blockers; these decrease acid production
  3. Proton pump inhibitors; these are stronger acid blockers that help heal damaged esophagus tissue
  4. Baclofen; this is a prescription drug useful in reducing the relaxation of the LES
  • Surgery

GERD is usually managed with medications and lifestyle changes, but if they don’t work, your gastroenterologist might suggest surgery as a last resort. Following are the surgical procedures performed to treat GERD:

  1. Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery: this is a standard surgical procedure, and is minimally invasive.
  2. LINX device implantation: this is another treatment method for GERD where a LINX device is implanted around the lower end of esophagus.

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