What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?
GERD (or GORD) refers to the disease in which the acid in the stomach flows up to the oesophagus, or gullet (the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach) and cause symptoms. It is also known as acid reflux.
What is the symptom of having GERD?
Common symptoms include heart burn (“burning sensation” over the upper abdomen, chest or behind the breastbone), chest pain, feeling of acid flowing up to the chest. Other symptoms include; the feeling that “something is stuck in the throat or at the chest”, acid taste in mouth, difficulty in breathing, chronic cough, sore-throat and hoarseness.
What is the cause of GERD?
GERD happens when the valve (a muscle known as sphincter) between the oesophagus and the stomach does not close properly, resulting in acid in the stomach to flow into the oesophagus.
What is the main cause of acidity?
Our stomach produces acid to help digest food, but if this acid flows up to the oesophagus, it will cause the symptoms mentioned above.
Medical treatment for GERD includes medications that can reduce acid production and medications that can prevent acid flowing up into the oesophagus. For severe GERD cases that cannot be controlled through medications, surgery to repair the valve may be needed.
What is the advice from doctor to prevent GERD?
For people with GERD, avoid taking oily food, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, chocolate, and mint. Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages and avoid big meals and supper. Do maintain proper body weight as obesity and being overweight may also result in GERD.
What are the serious complications if GERD is not treated properly?
If not treated properly, GERD may result in bleeding (patient may vomit blood or pass out black colour stool) or narrowed oesophagus (patient will have difficulty in swallowing). The worst complication is the development of cancer in the oesophagus. In fact, GERD has become the most important reason causing oesophageal cancer in USA nowadays.