Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease : What Are The Symptoms and How To Diagnose

By | April 29, 2014

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a chronic digestive disorder that occurs when the food, stomach acidic juices or fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube stretched from the mouth to the stomach. This is a common disorder reported by the people of almost every age group. It causes severe irritation in esophagus and symptom of heartburn. The people who have asthma are very prone to this disease.

Primary Causes of GERD

Irregular eating habits are the primary reason behind the GERD. If you are in the habit of sleeping soon after a heavy meal, you would be at greater risk of developing gerd. Also, if you frequently consume alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea, then you will also have increased chances of GERD. The symptoms of this disease may occur if you are obese, pregnant or going under certain medication such as Aspirin.

Major Symptoms of GERD

Most people over their lifetime would have experienced the symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease. The following are the primary symptoms of the GERD:

  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Hiccups
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cough or wheezing
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Sudden excess of saliva
  • Chronic sore throat

As soon you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your doctor immediately. If the disease is left undiagnosed or untreated for long, it can cause a disease called Esophagitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of GERD:

If symptoms of GERD are not severe, one can take an antacid or an OTC medication as directed by their pharmacist or doctor.  However,  if severe symptoms occur, it is important to consult your doctor. During the treatment, doctors may recommend certain changes in lifestyle and a few effective medication as well. The following are vital laboratory tests ordered by your doctor to diagnose the disease.

  • X-ray of the upper digestive system
  • Ambulatory acid (pH) test
  • Esophageal impedance test
  • Endoscopy

In addition to the above tests, doctors may also conduct a stool occult blood test to track the possible irritation of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Based on the results, the physician may recommend drug therapy.  Tecta, Zegerid, Zantac, Protonix, Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium are some of the the most effective drugs that doctors may recommend to their patients.


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