GERD or Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition where the stomach acids flow back into the tube (oesophagus) which connects the mouth with the stomach. Usually, GERD arises in people who have prolonged acid reflux (or heartburn). In fact, this condition is not very common.
GERD Symptoms can induce acute irritation and discomfort, and in more severe cases, it can lead to ulcers in the oesophagus. Furthermore, if this condition is left untreated, it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer.
The discomfort caused due to GERD can be managed by a change in lifestyle. However, a few need strong medications to cure the problem.
GERD can be caused by the following ways:
- Hiatal hernias
- Lower oesophagal sphincter abnormalities
- Abnormal oesophagal contractions
- Slow emptying of the stomach
Acid reflux or heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of GERD. But besides these, there are other symptoms that are actually less apparent. Symptoms include:
- Hoarseness of voice
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Acid can wear away the enamel of the teeth, causing tooth decay
- Barrett’s oesophagus – No symptoms, but increases the risk of oesophageal cancer
- Persistent cough
- Burning sensation in the chest
GERD can be treated with proton pump inhibitors. They reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Other treatment methods include:
- H2 Blockers: These help to decrease acid production.
- Antacids: These counteract the acid in the stomach with alkaline chemicals.
- Prokinetics: These help in quick emptying of the stomach.
- Erythromycin: This antibiotic also helps in emptying the stomach.
In conclusion, these are some of the most common GERD symptoms. Usual treatments for GERD involves over-the-counter medication such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors and H-2 receptor blockers.
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