What is GERD?
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic digestive disorder that happens when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, and regurgitation. GERD may also be associated with other conditions such as asthma, laryngitis, and dental erosions.
While GERD can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of GERD?
The most common symptom of GERD is a persistent burning sensation in the chest or throat. Other symptoms may include:
- Heartburn: A burning sensation that radiates from the stomach up to the chest and throat. This usually happens after eating or worse at nighttime while lying down.
- Acid reflux: A sour taste in the back of your mouth.
- Regurgitation: A feeling of sour or bitter liquid coming back into the throat or mouth from your esophagus. Health experts have found that It occurs in 80% of people with GERD.
- Difficulty swallowing: Difficulty getting food down your esophagus, which can make it hard to eat.
- Dysphagia: The sensation of food sticking in your throat.
- Chest pain: A burning or sharp pain in your chest that may be worse when bending over, lying down, or after eating. In some cases, GERD may even lead to chest pain similar to that experienced during a heart attack.
- Nausea: Feeling sick to your stomach or having the urge to vomit.
- Coughing: A persistent cough that can be worse at night or when lying down after eating a large meal.
- Hoarseness: A raspy voice due to the irritation of the esophagus by acid reflux.
- Bad breath: Unpleasant breath due to the presence of stomach acid in the back of your throat.
- Bloating: A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen caused by gas and fluid buildup.
- Sore throat: A scratchy or sore feeling in your throat that can worsen when swallowing.
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis for more than two weeks, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor will be able to diagnose GERD and recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Your doctor will likely perform an endoscopy to check for damage in your esophagus caused by acid reflux and discuss potential treatments with you.
Treatment for GERD typically involves lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and drinks that trigger GERD symptoms, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, and not lying down after eating.
Medications such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors may also be prescribed to reduce stomach acid production. GERD can be an uncomfortable condition, but it does not have to take over your life!
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with GERD, it is important to talk to your doctor so they can determine the best course of treatment for you.
Also read: Foods and Drinks That Help with Acid Reflux.