Why you shouldn’t ignore GERD

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Why you shouldn’t ignore GERD

What is GERD

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition wherein stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus, causing inflammation and severe ulcer. The end of the esophagus becomes narrow. Esophageal membrane changes its form and can later become esophageal cancer. GERD can occur in all ages regardless of gender. This disease is partially caused by an incorrect lifestyle, and it cannot be cured by taking medication alone. It is recommended that those who have conditions change their lifestyle and avoid aggravating factors. In case the symptoms do not get better or have become chronic, the additional examination is recommended; an endoscopy is needed for proper diagnosis.


GERD Symptoms

Most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn and regurgitation; however, there are still other symptoms indicating GERD which can be divided into 2 categories:

  1. Esophageal symptoms
    • Esophageal membrane appears normal, but a heartburn, typical reflux syndrome, and reflux chest pain syndrome can occur.
    • Inflamed esophageal membrane, narrow esophagus, Barret’s esophagus, abnormal esophageal cells, and esophageal cancer.
  2. Other symptoms outside the esophagus
    • Symptoms that directly involved with GERD: coughing due to reflux, laryngitis, an asthmatic episode, and cavities.
    • Symptoms that may indirectly involve with GERD: bronchitis, sinusitis, pulmonary fibrosis, and otitis media.

There’re still many people who are confused about the differences between GERD and gastritis. Although these two diseases are similar, there are still stark differences; for example, in gastritis, the dull pain occurs at or just below the xiphoid process, but GERD will feel the burning pain at the same site or a burning throat or chest.


Causes of GERD

  • The sphincter between the esophagus and stomach gets loosened and relaxed, while it should be firm and fit to prevent a reflux, this condition is also known as gastroesophageal junction incompetence.
  • Acid or non-acid reflux
  • Impaired esophageal acid clearance
  • Esophageal hypersensitivity

Risk factors of GERD

GERD is usually caused by an inappropriate lifestyle. The most common aggravating factors are

  • Immediately go to bed after a meal.
  • Obesity, excess weight increases abdominal pressure.
  • Eating sour or spicy foods.
  • Smoking, drinking both alcoholic beverage and soft drink can also aggravate the symptoms.

GERD Prevention and treatment

Treatment and prevention for acid reflux includes lifestyle changes, medication, laparoscopy, and surgery, but the easiest way is to change lifestyle habitsand can be done as follows • Avoid smoking, drinking tea, coffee, liquor, soft drinks.

  • Avoid spicy food. High fat diet andfood that are difficult to digest
  • Reduce weight, because excess weight increases the pressure in the abdomen.
  • Dinner should not be eaten in large quantities and should avoid late night meals
  • Do not go to bed or lie down immediately after eating. You should wait at least 3 hours.
  • You should eat a small amount of food per meal.
  • Do not wear clothes and belts that are tight, especially around the waist.
  • The head of the bed should be raised at least 6 inches using a leg support. Especially patients who have symptoms at night
  • Do not use the high-bolster sleep method as this will increase the pressure in our abdomen and increase acid reflux.

If the initial behavior change does not improve, medication must be taken as well to reduce the amount of acid and increase bowel movement. The medications should be taken regularly as prescribed by the doctor, should not reduce the dose, or stop the medication, you should see your doctor as scheduled and continually adjust the dose. If medication is not effective as expected, the doctor may consider surgical treatment. This is to prevent stomach acid from flowing back up into the respiratory system and upper digestive tract. While most GERDs are mild, they should not be ignored without treatment, as they can lead to more serious complications.


Conclusion

Although GERD is not a severe condition, it should not be ignored, it can develop into a chronic condition and increase risks of complications. To treat GERD, it is recommended that patients see a doctor to get a precise diagnosis and design an individual treatment plan together with healthcare professionals.


Why must come to Nakornthon

Nakornthon’s Gastrointestinal tract Center offers consultation, diagnosis, and a holistic approach to treat every Gastrointestinal disease with up-to-dated technology and a One-Stop Service. The most commonly found diseases and conditions are gastritis, GERD, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and Hepatitis B. We offer attentive care by experts: physicians, nurses, anesthetist, and other specialists in the field, such as, radiologists, and oncologists who specialize in chemotherapy. All heath care professionals are experts with reliable both research and practice experiences.


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