GERD – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting one’s mouth and stomach called the esophagus. This backwash can indeed irritate the lining of the esophagus. People do experience acid reflux from time to time. GERD can be mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs once a week. Most people can indeed manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over the counter medications. But, some patients with GERD may also need stronger medications or surgery to ease the symptoms.
Symptoms of GERD:
The common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- A burning sensation in one’s chest called heartburn, usually after eating, which might get worse at night.
- Chest pain
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Sensations of a lump in one’s throat
If you experience acid reflux, one might also experience
- Chronic cough
- New or worsening asthma
- Disturbed sleep
One must seek immediate medical attention in case one suffers from chest pain along with shortness of breath or jaw pain. These can indicate an ongoing symptom of heart attack
One must consult a doctor if one:
- Experiences of severe or frequent GERD symptoms
- Has to take over the counter medications for heartburn twice a week.
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Causes of GERD:
GERD occurs on account of frequent acid reflux.
When one swallows, a circular band of muscle forms around the bottom of one’s esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter), and one has to relax to allow food liquid to flow into the stomach. Then the sphincter closes again.
If the sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can indeed flow back up into the esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of the esophagus often causing it to become inflamed.
Risk Factors of GERD
Conditions that increase one’s risk of GERD are
- Bulging of the top of the stomach into the diaphragm (a hiatal hernia)
- Delayed stomach emptying
- Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
Factors that aggravate acid reflux includes
- Eating large meals or eating late at night
- Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
- Eating certain trigger foods, such as fatty and fried foods
- Taking certain medications like Aspirin.
Other Factors That Can Cause GERD:
Dietary and lifestyle choices can also contribute to GERD. Certain foods and beverages which include chocolate, mint, fried food, fatty food, coffee, or alcohol may trigger reflux as well as heartburn. Studies reveal that cigarette smoking relaxes the LES. Obesity and pregnancy can also play a role in the occurrence of GERD symptoms.
Heartburn is also referred to as acid indigestion, and one experiences a burning chest pain beginning behind the breastbone and then moving upward to the neck as well as the throat. Many people feel as though food is coming back into the mouth leaving acid and bitter taste.
The burning pressure or pain or heartburn can last as long as 2 hours and it can get worse after eating. Many people do obtain relief by standing upright or taking an antacid that does clear up the acid out of the esophagus.
Heartburn pain is sometimes mistaken for pain that accompanies a heart disease or a heart attack, but there are several differences. Exercise may aggravate the pain related to heart disease, and rest may relieve you of the pain. Heartburn pain has less to do with physical activity, but it’s difficult to tell the difference so one must seek immediate help in case one has chest pain
Treatment for GERD
Doctors recommend lifestyle as well as dietary changes for most people who need treatment when suffering from GERD. The treatment aims at decreasing the amount of reflux or perhaps reducing the damage to the lining of the esophagus from refluxed materials.
Avoiding foods and beverages that can often weaken the LES is often recommended. These foods, which you should avoid, include chocolate, fried food, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Foods and beverages that can irritate the damaged esophagus, such as citrus foods as wells as juices, tomato products, and pepper need to be avoided if they cause symptoms.
Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, are the most effective followed by H2 receptor blockers, such as ranitidine. If used once daily, PPI is only partially effective and may be needed to be used twice daily.
PPI and H2 receptor blockers have many side-effects and may not promote an effective recovery from GERD. It mostly aims at suppressing the symptoms which decreases acid production or neutralizes the acid production and can control the intensity of symptoms but cannot promote long-lasting recovery from GERD.
With a hectic modern lifestyle, the stress levels are going to remain and anxiety is going to increase which will be a constant maintaining factor where the use of these drugs can only control the symptoms. It is the mechanical way of dealing with the symptoms.
Role of Homeopathy in Treating GERD
Homeopathy offers effective and safe treatment for GERD. Life Force Homeopathy offers specially formulated research-based treatment for GERD. Homeopathic medicine is personalized for you, your body type, and daily activities and addresses your problem at a deep level. Our medicines treat the human being as a whole considering various factors, such as stress, nature, and individual gastric presentation. The presentation may differ from patient to patient as each individual is unique. It will not make you dependent on the medicine over time. Homeopathy will reduce the intensity of burning, regurgitation, and frequency over time and will make you symptom-free. It will improve your quality of life and you will be able to enjoy food e.g. spicy fried if taken in moderate quantity.
Homeopathy will also help prevent complications, such as gastric ulcers and cancer of the stomach.
Moreover, the dependency of allopathic medicines will be taken care of, thereby nullifying the side-effects of such medicines. So, if you happen to suffer from GERD anytime, opt for homeopathy without a second thought. Meet your specialist today at Life Force Homeopathy.
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