Gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise abbreviated as GERD, is a condition in which the acid content in the stomach refluxes into the esophagus. Considering the walls of the esophagus are different as compared to those of the stomach, this exposure can damage the linings of the walls with visible signs of inflammation occurring in a small number of patients. The regurgitated liquid may contain the most common stomach contents, including bile, pepsin, which digests proteins in the stomach and other stomach acids. Stomach acid is said to be the most harmful of all the contents.
GERD is a chronic infection and lasts a life-time once it starts. If there is an injury to the wall lining of the esophagus, this too is considered a chronic condition and once it heals after treatment, the initial injury may return in a majority of cases within a few months. This means that treatment is indefinite once it starts.
Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Symptoms of the condition vary from children to adults, with some of them being more common than others. Symptoms in adults may include:
- Pain with swallowing
- Trouble when swallowing
- Chest pain
- Increased salivation
Severe cases may end up causing injuries There are a number of injuries including:
- Reflux esophagitis, which is death of the epithelium lining of the esophagus, a condition that may bring about ulcers at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach.
- Esophageal strictures, which is a continuous narrowing of the esophagus brought about by reflux-based inflammation.
- Esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is a rare cancer that may affect the esophagus
Other symptoms occur and are generally present when there is a case injury. These include:
- Chronic cough
- Dentine hypersensitivity
- Erosion of dental enamel
GERD may be difficult to detect in children. Studies have shown that symptoms are more or less the same as those of adults. Other unique symptoms may include:
- Repeated vomiting
- Spitting up effortlessly
- Refusing food
- Inconsolable crying
- Bad breath
Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
It is advisable to visit a health care provider once symptoms of GERD start showing. A patient may be referred to a gastroenterologist, one who strictly specializes on stomach and intestinal diseases. Treatment may include measures including
- Changing lifestyles life:
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight if needed
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Eat small means frequently
- Avoid lying down after a meal
- Elevate the head section of your bed for an incline in favor of the head.
Medication may be recommended depending on the particular case.
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