Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting to the mouth and stomach known as the esophagus. One common event of GERD occurs when a backwash happens known as acid reflux, which can irritate the esophagus lining. Many people have experienced it, but when it happens repeatedly, it causes GERD.
What does GERD mean?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs in the stomach when acidity acid and the digested food flow back up into the esophagus.
Common symptoms are:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chronic cough
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Dental problems
GERD is occasional or chronic. It can lead to more serious difficulties when you just leave it untreated. Chronic GERD causes inflammation and damages the esophagus, leading to different conditions, such as:
- esophageal ulcers
- Barrett’s esophagus
In extreme cases, GERD can contribute to esophageal cancer development.
Treatment involves the following:
- lifestyle changes
- dietary modifications
- over-the-counter or prescription medications
- in some cases surgery to strengthen the LES
Get a consultation with a healthcare professional if you experience frequent or severe symptoms to determine the best course of action for your precise situation.
How to treat it?
Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease involves various medications or can be prescription medications or surgery. The distinctive treatment approach differs based on the severity of the symptoms and individual needs. Here are strategies for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease:
- Lifestyle changes. It matters based on your lifestyles, which are:
- Dietary modifications
- Eating habits
- Weight management
- Dietary changes. If you are familiar with these dietary changes, then you should acquire them:
- Low-acidity diet
- Avoid overeating
- Over-the-Counter medications.
- H2 Blockers
- Prescription medications:
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
- In severe cases or when other treatments fail, surgical options like fundoplication are considered to reinforce the LES and prevent acid reflux.
- Lifestyle tips. Elevate the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches to reduce nighttime reflux. Avoid tight-fitting clothing that presses the abdomen.
- Stress management. High levels of stress exacerbate GERD, so consider stress-reduction techniques like:
- deep breathing exercises
Some medications used to treat GERD may have side effects, so your doctor will carefully weigh the risks and benefits of each treatment option.
Is it risky?
If GERD left untreated or poorly managed causes various complications, some of which can be serious. Here are some possible risks associated with untreated or poorly managed acid reflux:
- Esophageal ulcers
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Esophageal cancer
- Respiratory complications
- Dental issues
Anything unusual on you must be dealt with as early as possible to avoid severity.