GERD or Acid Reflux or HeartBurn : Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

GERD
Cause is Defective Lower Esophageal Sphincter Muscle

(GERD) Gastroesophageal reflux disease as the name indicates is the reflux of stomach contents back into the esophagus. Generally what happens, when we ingest food it passes through the esophagus, there is a valve at the lower end of esophagus which relax or opens and food enter into the stomach and after that valve gets closed. When this valve is not competent enough stomach contents reflux back

GERD Causes

Improper function of lower esophageal sphincter muscle as described above is the reason for gastroesophageal reflux

Symptoms of GERD

Heartburn (Burning sensation in chest, usually after eating, worsened at night)
Regurgitation of food contents
Difficulty swallowing
Chronic cough/ New or worsening asthma

Risk Factors

  • Obesity
  • Hiatus Hernia
  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol/ Coffee
  • Eating a large meal

Complications

Esophagus ulcer is the first finding on endoscopy in simple reflux disease. Long standing reflux can cause Barretts esophagus which is a premaligant condition which predispose to esophagus cancer. Continuous reflux can cause benign esophageal stricture

Diagnosis

Esophageal pH monitoring is the gold standard test to confirm the prsence of reflux
Upper GI Endoscopy
Esophageal Manometry

Treatment

First step in acid reflux treatment is life-style modification
Medical treatment include proton pump inhibitors which decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach. these includes pantocid, rabeprazole. Another group of medicines which are beneficial include H2 blockers, Antacids, Prokinetics
Surgical management: Surgery is indicated if above methods fail, and lower esophageal sphincter muscle is weak, associated hiatus hernia. In these cases Niissen fundoplication is done

GERD Diet

There is no special diet for GERD. Small frequent meal. Certain foods which trigger GERD symptoms should be avoided. These foods include coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint

Prevention

Stop alcohol & Smoking
Take small amount of meal at one time
Donot lie immediately after eating
Loose weight
Stop eating 2 to 3 hours before sleeping

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