What is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices or food travels back up from the stomach into the oesophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux. GERD affects people of all ages.
If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might be suffering from GERD. If left untreated, GERD can cause serious complications.
Most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with over-the-counter medication or lifestyle changes. But some may need stronger medications or at times surgery to ease the symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which worsens at night
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Chronic cough
- Worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
How is GERD Diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you might have GERD, they’ll conduct a physical exam and talk about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
One or more of the following procedures is followed to check for complications of GERD:
- Barium swallow: after drinking a barium solution, X-ray imaging is used to examine your upper digestive tract
- Oesophageal manometry: a flexible tube is threaded into your oesophagus to measure the strength of your oesophagal muscles
- Upper endoscopy: a flexible tube with a tiny camera is sent through into your oesophagus to examine it and collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) if needed
What are the Potential Risk factors for GERD
Conditions that can increase your chances of developing GERD, include:
- hiatal hernia
- consuming large meals
- sleeping shortly after eating
- fried or spicy foods
- beverages, such as soda, coffee, or alcohol
If you have any of these risk factors, taking steps to modify them may help you prevent or manage GERD. Talk to Bangalore’s best gastroenterologist today!