Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Gerd Information

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or​ GERD, is​ the medical term for what most people refer to​ as​ acid reflux disease.

Gastroesophageal is​ a​ relatively new term for acid reflux disease. it​ has been used for approximately the past 20 years. Before that it​ was just referred to​ as​ heartburn. But heartburn is​ just one of​ the symptoms of​ GERD. Some of​ the other symptoms of​ GERD are regurgitation, hoarseness or​ laryngitis, the feeling of​ a​ lump in​ the throat, coughing, bad breath, asthma, difficulty swallowing, and water brash. Some people with GERD do not have any symptoms at​ all.

What happens to​ cause GERD? it​ starts with acid in​ the stomach washing back up into the esophagus repeatedly, which happens if​ the lower esophageal sphincter becomes relaxed.

Some foods and beverages can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to​ relax. This is​ not an​ all-inclusive list but some of​ the most common are: chocolate, licorice, peppermint, fatty foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol. Barbiturates, calcium-channel blockers, Diazepam and Sumitriptan are some of​ the medications that cause the lower esophageal sphincter to​ relax and allow acid back in​ to​ the esophagus.

Lifestyle changes can be very effective in​ helping to​ control GERD although over- the-counter medications, prescription medications, and possibly surgery, may also be necessary. Some of​ the lifestyle changes that may help control GERD include: losing weight if​ you are overweight, avoiding high-fat foods, not lying down right after eating, not eating large heavy meals (i.e. don’t overstuff yourself—especially on fatty foods), and stopping smoking if​ you are a​ smoker.

GERD can be a​ difficult disease to​ diagnosis. That is​ because of​ the wide range of​ symptoms people can experience and the complication of​ some people not experiencing any symptoms at​ all. it​ is​ easier to​ diagnosis if​ a​ person is​ experiencing the classic symptoms of​ GERD which are heartburn and regurgitation. in​ some cases a​ physician will not do tests right away but will first prescribe over-the-counter or​ prescription medications to​ see if​ they clear up the symptoms.

If the medications do not take care of​ the symptoms then a​ physician will likely do one or​ more of​ the following diagnostic tests: x-rays with a​ barium swallow, an​ upper gastrointestinal x-ray series, an​ upper endoscopy, an​ esophageal manometry, or​ a​ 24-hour pH probe. The reason physicians may try over-the-counter or​ prescription medications before running tests is​ because some of​ the tests, such as​ the upper endoscopy and pH probe are invasive, and because of​ the costs of​ some of​ the tests.

After diagnosing GERD, a​ physician will recommend lifestyle changes such as​ the ones mentioned earlier in​ this article to​ help control the GERD, and depending on the severity will recommend over-the-counter medications or​ will prescribe a​ stronger medication by prescription. The medications may need to​ be continued indefinitely because over half of​ all people who stop taking their medications after getting their symptoms under control have a​ recurrence within a​ year.

If the medications do not alleviate the symptoms, surgery may be needed. Surgery is​ also an​ alternative to​ having to​ take medications indefinitely. a​ procedure called a​ “Nissen fundoplication” is​ the type of​ surgery typically done to​ relieve GERD. in​ the surgery the upper part of​ the stomach located near the esophagus, called the “fundus,” is​ wrapped around the lower esophagus. Doing this strengthens the barrier function of​ the lower esophagus, thus preventing gastreosophageal reflux and repairing the main irregularity that occurs in​ people suffering from GERD. The surgery is​ usually done laparoscopically. it​ is​ considered a​ safe surgery (but remember any surgery carries risks) that typically gives good results.

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