What is acid reflux? When the content of your stomach ( acid mixed with food in the process of digestion ) travels back up your throat and causes some irritation.
What is GERD? This is a condition that affects about 20% of Americans. It happens when you have acid reflux frequently. It can bring some unwanted complications.
If you want to know more about GERD and Acid Reflux, keep reading because we dive further into the topic, the signs, management, and how it is diagnosed.
When you have acid reflux, you feel an unpleasant sensation in your chest, and sometimes you can feel it in your neck and throat, too; this is called heartburn.
It is the primary symptom of GERD, along with :
- Unpleasant tang at the back of the tongue
- Dysphagia ( difficulty when eating)
- odynophagia( feeling pain when eating)
- The irritation can cause a cough that lasts long
- a change in your voice
Let us have a look at the most resultative ways to treat GERD.
A few changes in your behavior and lifestyle can help relieve GERD symptoms, changes such as:
- Quit smoking
- Do not eat so much at night
- Avoid staying in a horizontal position immediately after you eat
- Keep a moderate body size
- Boost your head with a pillow to about 6-8 inches during sleep
Various drugs help reduce the signs of GERD. Your doctor may prescribe drug groups like Antacids (Gelusil), H2 receptor blockers (Famotidine), and proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole). They alleviate the symptoms by decreasing the volume of acid the stomach makes. Please consult a physician before taking the said group of drugs because some of them may have side effects.
Note that home remedies like chewing ginger, drinking baking soda, chewing gum, or consuming milk do not relieve signs of GERD; some of these may even worsen the symptoms. Seek medical advice from a professional, and do not self-medicate.
Doctors do not always perform surgery, but sometimes it is necessary to perform surgeries like fundoplication(the fundus of the stomach is stitched round the esophagus) and bariatric surgery (which is suggested when GERD is worsened by excessive body size)
GERD is diagnosed by a doctor by performing a physical examination and inquiring about the symptoms you are experiencing after that; various other tests can be performed before giving the diagnosis of GERD.
Below are some tests performed:
- Ambulatory 24- pH probe(the gold standard for diagnosing GERD)
- Upper endoscopy
- Manometry of the throat
- pH monitoring of the throat
After getting the result, the doctor will tell you which line of treatment suits you and also if surgery should be done.