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gerd

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between your esophagus and your stomach. This ring is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

Gastroesophageal reflux happens when the LES is weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t. This lets the stomach's contents flow up into the esophagus.

This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.

Acid reflux and heartburn more than twice a week may indicate GERD. Symptoms include burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and worsens when lying down.

chronic reflux can even increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Gerd?

Common symptoms of GERD include:

  • Feeling that food is stuck in the throat
  • Heartburnor a burning pain in the chest

 

  • Nausea after eating

 

Less common symptoms are:

 

Symptoms may get worse when you bend over or lie down, or after you eat. Symptoms may also be worse at night.

How can I tell if I have GERD or acid reflux?

GERD tends to occur on a regular basis, sometimes several times a week. If you have acid reflux on a regular basis – even a few times a month – you should be evaluated to make sure your esophagus is healthy and to receive treatment that can be more effective than over-the-counter heartburn products. An endoscopy can provide pictures and video of the interior of your esophagus and the LES to look for signs of damage related to GERD.

What causes reflux and GERD in infants?

Reflux is very common in babies. About half all babies spit up many times a day in the first 3 months of their lives. They usually stop spitting up between the ages of 12 and 14 months.

GERD is also common in younger infants. Many 4-month-olds have it. But by their first birthday, only 10% of babies still have GERD.

In babies who have reflux, the lower esophageal sphincter muscle is not fully developed and lets the stomach contents back up the esophagus. This causes your baby to spit up (regurgitate). Once his or her sphincter muscle fully develops, your baby should no longer spit up

What are the Risk factors of GERD?

The risk factors for reflux include:

  • Use of alcohol or excessive coffee
  • Hiatal hernia(a condition in which part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Connective tissue disorders(Scleroderma)
  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals
  • Eating late at night
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Reclining within 3 hours after eating

 

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux can be caused by or made worse by pregnancy. Symptoms can also be caused by certain medicines, such as:

  • Anticholinergics (for example, sea sickness medicine)
  • Bronchodilators for asthma
  • Calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure
  • Dopamine-active drugs for Parkinson disease
  • Progestin for abnormal menstrual bleeding or birth control
  • Sedatives for insomnia or anxiety
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

VCE is a safe, effective and minimally invasive test that is the gold standard for diagnosing diseases of the small intestine.

Diagnosing GERD?

Exams and Tests

At Aayushman clinic Gastroenterology Centre(ACGC),our physicians can usually diagnose Gerd with a physical examination but we may recommend certain procedure to confirm our diagnosis.

You may not need any tests if your symptoms are mild.

If your symptoms are severe or they come back after you have been treated, we may perform a test called an upper endoscopy (EGD).

  • This is a test to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
  • It is done with a small camera (flexible endoscope) that is inserted down the throat.

You may also need one or more of the following tests:

  • A test that measures how often stomach acid enters the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach (called the esophagus)
  • A test to measure the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus (esophageal manometry)
  • A positive stool occult blood testmay diagnose bleeding that is coming from the irritation in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

How are acid reflux and Gerd managed?

You can make many lifestyle changes to help treat your symptoms.

Other tips include:

  • If you are overweight or obese, in many cases, losing weight can help.
  • Raise the head of the bed if your symptoms get worse at night.
  • Have your dinner 2 to 3 hours before going to sleep.
  • Avoid drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen Take acetaminophen (paracetamol) to relieve pain.
  • Take all of your medicines with plenty of water. When your provider gives you a new medicine, ask whether it will make your heartburn worse.

You may use over-the-counter antacids after meals and at bedtime, although the relief may not last very long. Common side effects of antacids include diarrhea or constipation.

Other over-the-counter and prescription medicines can treat GERD. They work more slowly than antacids, but give you longer relief. Your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse can tell you how to take these medicines.

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) decrease the amount of acid produced in your stomach.
  • H2 blockers also lower the amount of acid released in the stomach.

Anti-reflux surgery may be an option for people whose symptoms do not go away with lifestyle changes and medicines. Heartburn and other symptoms should improve after surgery. But you may still need to take medicines for your heartburn.

Important Reminder:

The information provided above is meant to be used as an informative guide for patients. For precise and individualized recommendations, please consult with one of our board certified gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms.

For additional information or to book an appointment at the Aayushman clinic Gastroenterology Center, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team by calling us at 8860291508. You can also schedule online or reach out to us via the Contact Us form.