Understanding Your GERD Diagnosis

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that more than 40 percent of Americans suffer from. Acid is a completely normal feature within your stomach, aiding in the digestion of food. In some cases, acids and bile will flow upward, or reflux, into your esophagus. This causes pain, discomfort, and indigestion. Reflux is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle is at the junction of your esophagus and stomach, and it functions as a valve that lets liquids and food pass through to the stomach.

Ordinarily, your LES is able to prevent gastric pressures from forcing acid and bile into your esophagus. But if the LES is weakened, acid and bile will reflux, creating injury to the lining of your esophagus and cause symptoms such as regurgitation, heartburn, chest pains, coughing, and sore throat. GERD can also limit daily activities, prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, affect your food tolerances, and cause daily pain. If this condition goes untreated, complications can potentially arise, such as:

  • Esophagitis: inflammation or swelling of the esophagus
  • Ulcer: open sore on the lining of esophagus
  • Stricture: narrowing of the esophagus
  • Barrett’s Esophagus: precancerous disorders in the esophagus

Risk Factors For Developing GERD

Anyone, including infants and children, can develop GERD. GERD is more common in obese people and pregnant women. Some factors that may contribute to the development of GERD or worsening of symptoms are smoking, eating large meals or eating meals late at night (before going to bed), fatty or fried foods, alcohol or coffee, and certain medications like aspirin.

Exploring GERD Treatment Options

To help treat GERD, the first thing that should be explored is diet, habits, and lifestyle. Modification of risk factors should be explored. To help reduce the symptoms, you can try:

  • Eating smaller meals
  • Avoiding meals at nighttime
  • Lose weight if you have a high BMI
  • Avoid trigger foods — spicy, acidic, or fatty foods and alcohol, coffee, or carbonated beverages
  • Loosening clothing
  • Stop smoking

Other common treatment options include over-the-counter (OTC) antacid medication, prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPI) medications, or surgery if the condition persists.

Symptoms of GERD should not be managed by suffering through or waiting it out. Recurrent acid reflux causes more than acute discomfort and can cause long-term damage and even cancer if left untreated.

Southern Reflux Center Offers Real GERD Treatment Solutions

Southern Reflux Center can help treat your GERD! With more than two decades of reflux treatment experience, the center utilizes evidence-based reflux treatment methodologies, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and superior treatment plans focused on the root problems and not just the symptoms. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Southern Reflux Center by phone or online today.