Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is the medical term for a condition more commonly known as acid reflux. It is a chronic disease, which means that its symptoms can be controlled but the disease itself cannot be complete, absolutely cured.
You will recognize GERD from its universal symptom – the reflux or flow-back of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Infants, children, and adults can develop GERD.
People with this condition have noticed that the reflux characteristically happens given certain circumstances. It can happen after eating some types of food. Downing an unusually heavy meal is also likely to result in reflux, especially when you lie down for a nap right after the meal. It is also a frequent consequence of drinking in excess. Some people have found out that taking a can of soda with a meal can also trigger the reflux. Women have reported that when they are pregnant the reflux increases in frequency.
Aside from the distinguishing heartburn or acidic indigestion, there are other symptoms. A constant cough, a hoarse croak in the voice, and distinctive problems with the ears and the sinuses may also be present. If the person has poor resistance to acids, the condition may develop into something worse — ulcers, and sometimes, especially when the condition is disregarded and not addressed with adequate care, even melanoma.
Heartburn in itself is not conclusive of GERD. But if it comes frequently, and with mounting severity, it may point to the patient having this disorder. So, what is acid reflux? It is important to know the characteristics of this disorder to know their differences against other symptoms.
There are several techniques for dealing with GERD and bringing down the frequency at which it occurs. The following steps may prove helpful:
• Modify your diet. Some foods have been found to prompt GERD symptoms. Stay clear of such foods. You will get a clearer picture of what these foods are by taking down notes about what you eat and when the symptoms surface. Do not take too much of chocolate and other fatty food, as well as of foodstuff rich in spices or tomatoes. Caffeine, red wine, and soda are proven to generate GERD-associated pains and ills.
• Do not eat anything just before going to sleep. Studies show that keeping the stomach empty at least two hours before going to bed is helpful in minimizing GERD episodes. Also, stay upright after a meal, especially a rather heavy one; do not lie down immediately as this serves to invite reflux.
• Make sure that when you lie down, the head is slightly elevated. This slightly upright position, with the head elevated by an average of 7 inches off the bed, brings fewer tendencies for gastric juices to reflux.
• Learn to chew gum. This habit boosts the production of saliva which helps in neutralizing acid.
• Stop smoking. Research shows that nicotine, as well as the very act of inhaling and exhaling when you smoke cigarettes can generate reflux.
• Do not wear tight-fitting clothes, especially those that are taut around your mid-section. Opt for clothes that allow you to breathe freely and move around comfortably.
• Where babies are concerned, the use of the Amby Baby Bed has been found to be beneficial. A child who suffers from acid reflux is less likely to fuss and cry. He can sleep much better, embraced by this hammock which approximates the mother’s womb in shape and feels. Having him sleep on this special bed until he turns one year old is said to have great effects on bringing down the incidence of reflux.
• You may also consider taking medications for GERD. Famotidine and Omeprazole have been found to slow down the manufacture of gastric acid. Antacids, on the other hand, help in offsetting acidity.
• Think about the possibility of undergoing surgical procedures. The Nissen fundoplication is one procedure usually considered for GERD patients. It involves strengthening the sphincter muscles so that they can perform their fundamental function of keeping the food in the stomach and not flow back to the esophagus.2016-08-04