Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common gastrointestinal condition that affects people of all ages and races, including children and adults. It occurs when you experience acid reflux, resulting in stomach contents flowing back into the mouth through the esophagus. You are more likely to be suffering from GERD if you experience acid or stomach refluxes more than two times a week. Fortunately, you can manage the discomfort caused by the GERD condition through a top Charlotte GERD gastroenterologist by getting the best treatment to improve your symptoms. Let us learn more about GERD and the best available treatment options.
What causes GERD?
GERD is caused by frequent acidic movements of food contents through the food pipe, from the stomach to the mouth. Usually, after swallowing any food content, your lower esophageal sphincter relaxes to let the food flow to your stomach and then closes. If the esophageal sphincter fails to relax or function normally, the stomach acid can escape through the esophagus, causing an inflamed feeling and sensation.
Symptoms of GERD
The most common symptom of GERD is acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn. You may also develop a sour and bitter taste in your mouth. Other additional common symptoms include;
- Hoarse voice
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
The symptoms listed above might vary from one person to another. They might also worsen after eating, lying, or bending over. Most people struggling with GERD symptoms report that their symptoms worsen at night, especially after meals. You might want to see a doctor if your GERD condition interferes with your daily life.
Who is at risk of getting GERD?
GERD affects people of all ages but can also be triggered by several lifestyle factors and other non-preventable factors such as asthma and pregnancy. Also, people who excessively smoke, eat spicy food, and drink alcohol, are susceptible to acid or GERD reflux.
People who eat large meals frequently or take certain medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, or sedatives, are at a greater risk of getting GERD. To avoid the risk of GERD reflux, avoid lying down immediately after meals, and avoid certain unhealthy lifestyle habits.
How is GERD diagnosed?
GERD can sometimes cause intolerable discomfort and can also cause other severe health issues if left untreated for long periods. Your doctor may diagnose GERD by consistently monitoring your heartburn symptoms and providing acid reflux medications such as antacids, H2 blockers, etc.
Your gastroenterologists may also recommend specific GERD diagnostic methods as stated below.
- A biopsy which involves lab analysis of your tissue sample
- An endoscopy
- Barium x-ray which involves imaging of your digestive system
- Esophagus manometry involves measuring the pressure of the esophagus
How is GERD treated?
GERD can be treated by taking certain over-the-counter medications or changing certain poor lifestyle habits. If your GERD condition is more severe, your doctor might recommend surgery to improve your symptoms and condition.
Healthy changes such as eating healthy food, managing your weight, a healthy sleep routine, and regular exercises, can minimize your risk of getting GERD. Certain GERD medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, and antacids, can help relieve discomfort and heal the damaged esophagus tissue.
Experiencing occasional heartburn or acid refluxes could signify you are suffering from GERD. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates, a medical clinic specializing in digestive disorders and providing powerful treatment options. Call or book an appointment to heal the uncomfortable effects of frequent acid reflux.