GERD, in other words gastroesophageal disease reflex disease, is a chronic condition of acid from the stomach regressing back into the esophagus. It develops after the common acid reflux happens often without any improvement. Heartburn, a burning sensation on the chest, is the main symptom of this condition.
Factors that contribute to GERD:
- Intake of some beverages like coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
- Eating in excess or just before you go to bed.
- Eating high fat foods
- Usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
Below is a deeper context of the above factors that aggravate the chances of getting GERD:-
- Intake of some beverages like coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol:
These drinks makes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, resulting to an acid reflux. Alcohol and carbonated drinks are known to increase the acidity levels in the stomach, as a result, increasing the risk for an acid reflux. Also, when taken in excess, the alcohol destroys the lining of the esophagus making it oversensitive to the acid.
I know what you thinking, but you should really think twice before putting that cigar on your lips if you want to avoid this disease. Nicotine is one of the major components of tobacco and it will greatly damage the lower esophageal muscle.
- Eating in excess or just before you go to bed:
Eating in excess increase the production of stomach acid so you should have smaller portions of food often instead.
- Eating high fat foods:
These high fat foods trigger the acid reflux by relaxing the esophageal sphincter which is the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach, such that the stomach acid can easily regress into the stomach.
They also stimulate cholecystokinin hormone which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter resulting to the acid reflux.
THE TREATMENT FOR GERD:
- Usage of pills:
This is usually the go-to for most people and there are a variety of options to pick from. First, there is Gaviscon, which can be bought without a prescription and counter acts the stomach acid.
Another option is the proton pump inhibitors which reduce the production of the stomach acid for around 12 hours.
The H2 receptor inhibitors are the third option. They work for 12 hours like the PPIs, but they take longer to relieve symptoms than antacids.
The last recommended medication would be Baclofen, which relieves the symptoms. Its mechanism of work involves decreasing the dependency of the lower esophageal sphincter.
These drugs are reliable for short time use because when they are used long term, they result to vitamin b-12 deficiency because they reduce the level of stomach acid which is important in its absorption from food.
- Lifestyle modifications:
This should be your first option since it is the healthiest with least risks. This would incorporate building your GERD diet to live on since there is no standard list of foods, but just what is recommended and what to avoid as it could aggravate the condition.
Some diet tips you could use include:-
- Avoid overeating since large meals stimulate the production of more stomach acid.
- Eating foods with low carbs since the undigested carbs causes the bacteria to overgrow resulting to increased pressure in the abdomen.
- Avoid or rather minimize on alcohol intake.
- Avoid taking coffee and other carbonated drinks.
- Chew gum as it contains bicarbonate to reduce the acidity in the esophagus.
- Avoid foods like: chocolate, raw onions, mint and citrus fruits.
- Avoid eating within three hours to bedtime.
- Avoid sleeping on your right side as much as you can.
- Lose weight, which would be through dieting and moderate exercising.
There are two types of surgeries for GERD.
- Fundoplication. This involves wrapping the top part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter. To make it tighter, hence minimizing the acid reflux.
- LINX device. This involves addition of a ring of titanium beads around the confluence of the stomach and the esophagus. Thus, enabling the food passage into the stomach and keeping it closed when not in use.
Surgery should be your last option, since it has many underlying risks compared to the other options. All that said and done, you should consider changing your lifestyle when diagnosed with the GERD condition before doing anything drastic. Also know types of hot water systems and drink fresh water
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