GERD: Symptoms & Treatment

GERD happens when the contents of your stomach or stomach acid, travels back up
into your esophagus thus irritating the lining of your esophagus and causing GERD.
GERD occurrences increase as we age. GERD presents differently in the elderly and
will often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Approximately 60% of adults will face some
symptoms of acid reflux or GERD.

GERD Symptoms

1.Chest pain
2. Vomiting
3. Heartburn
4. Breathing problems
5. Unpleasant breath.

Complication of GERD

1. Deteriorates the enamel of your teeth.
2. Inflammation of the throat(esophagus)
3. Tightening of the throat(esophagus) that can cause difficulties in swallowing.
4. Barrett’s Esophagus – is thought to be a change to the esophagus tissue from
repeated/chronic acid reflux.

Contributing Factors

1. Obesity
2. Hiatal Hernia
3. Smoking
4. Certain Medication such as antihistamines, sleep medications and
antidepressants.
5. Foods that are acidy, fatty, spicy also chocolate, alcohol and caffeine

Diagnosing GERD must be done by your family doctor. They will determine whether or
not medication such as a stronger antacid will control your symptoms or if further testing
is recommended. They may also refer you to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation.

GERD Treatment

Lifestyle changes even though they may be the easiest to implement, have not shown
to make a distinct difference in the onset or reoccurrence of GERD. It is still
recommended that a person with GERD avoid eating several hours prior to bed or
resting. When they do rest that they need to elevate their head. People with GERD can
also lose weight, stop smoking if they smoke, avoid foods that are spicy, fatty and high
acidic foods.

Medications Your doctor will recommend that you begin with a medication that will
reduce your stomach gastric acid production. There are several medication options
available. Currently there does not seem to be any significant proof that one medication
provides better results than another. The correct medication for you will be decided after
consultation with your doctor.

Surgery Most people dealing with GERD will never require surgery. If you do it will
most likely involve surgery that will tighten your esophageal sphincter which in turn will
reduce the acid reflux. The esophageal sphincter is located between your stomach and
esophagus. This historically isn’t a total fix as symptoms can reoccur within several
years.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esophageal_stricture
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease