GERD, which stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a condition that affects millions of people in the United States. It can cause pain and discomfort in the chest, throat, and abdomen. It is usually caused by a problem with the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This valve opens to allow food and liquid to enter the stomach and closes to prevent them from flowing back into the esophagus.
Causes of GERD
GERD is usually caused by a problem with the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This valve opens to allow food and liquid to enter the stomach and closes to prevent them from flowing back into the esophagus.
Other causes of GERD include:
– Smoking: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It causes various diseases and health problems, including gastroesophageal reflux disease. Smoking reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth, which can lead to GERD. It also increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.
– Alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing it. Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This can allow stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus and cause symptoms. Alcohol can also irritate the esophagus lining, which can make the symptoms worse.
– Obesity: Obesity increases the risk of GERD by putting pressure on the stomach. This pressure can force stomach acid back up into the esophagus.
– Pregnancy: The extra weight of the baby can put pressure on the stomach, which can force stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Pregnancy also changes the hormonal balance in the body, which can lead to GERD symptoms.
Symptoms of GERD
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease symptoms can vary from person to person. They may include:
– Chest pain: Chest pain is the most common symptom. The pain can be sharp and stabbing or dull, aching pain. It may happen suddenly or develop over time.
– Trouble swallowing: You may have trouble swallowing foods or liquids. You may feel like food is sticking in your throat.The pain may start behind the breastbone and move up to the throat.
– Heartburn: Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that GERD can cause. It may worsen after eating or when you lie down.
– Acid reflux: Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest and throat.
– Regurgitation: You may feel like you are regurgitating food or liquids.
– Nausea: You may feel nauseous after eating.
GERD can be treated in several ways. The most common GERD treatment is medication. Medications may include over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Other treatments include:
Lifestyle changes: You can make several lifestyle changes to help treat GERD. These changes include quitting smoking, losing weight, and avoiding trigger foods.
– Surgery: In some cases, gastroesophageal reflux disease may require surgery. Surgery is typically only recommended for people with severe cases that has not responded to other treatments.
If you think you may have GERD, talk to your doctor. They can help diagnose it and create a proper treatment plan for you. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a treatable condition, so don’t hesitate to seek treatment if you think you may have it.
GERD is a common condition that can be treated in several ways. Medication is the most common treatment, but lifestyle changes and surgery are also options. If you think you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, talk to your doctor. They can help diagnose GERD and create a proper treatment plan for you. GERD is a treatable condition, so don’t hesitate to seek treatment if you think you may have GERD.