GERD, also known as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, occurs when content from the stomach flow back into the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular organ that carries food from throat to stomach. A muscle named lower esophageal sphincter controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. The content reflux occurs when the sphincter does not function properly. When stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus a burning sensation occurs. Heartburn is the sensation caused in the chest or throat. If fluid goes back into the mouth, this is called acid indigestion.
What Causes GERD:
There are several factors that contribute directly to the GERD. An obese person easily gets the symptoms of the disease. Hiatal hernia is another element that elevates the acid reflux symptoms. Chances of acid ingestion increase if you lie down on the bed after taking your food. Pregnant women may have acid reflux symptoms if wear tight clothes. Some of the major causes of GERD include:
- Alcohol use
- Citrus foods such as orange juice
- Tomato-based foods
- Spicy foods
Symptoms of GERD:
Heartburn and burning pain in the lower chest are the two major signs of acid influx. Some people even experience acid or sour taste in their mouth. Dysphagia is another sign when your food is trapped behind the breastbone. Some patients vomit blood or tarry substances during GERD attack. Choking is another major symptom where patients experience a sensation of acid reflux into the windpipe
Diagnosis and Treatment of the Acid Reflux:
Doctors recommend clinical tests, lifestyle changes and medication to treat the drug. The doctor suggests avoiding certain food items that elevates the symptoms of acid reflux such as junk food and oily stuff. The following lab tests are done to establish the symptoms of acid reflux:
- Upper GI X-Ray
- Esophageal Manometry
After a diagnosis, doctors recommend medications to treat the disease. The medications prescribed are Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Zantac. It’s however important to consult your doctor before starting any drug.