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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which the stomach’s contents sometimes flow backward, up into the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your throat into your stomach). Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also called acid reflux, is a common problem that causes heartburn. Many people have heartburn (or acid indigestion) regularly and it’s not usually a cause for concern. This uncomfortable, burning pain in the lower chest area happens to many people after eating a big meal or spicy foods. GERD affects people of all ages—from infants to older adults.

GERD Causes:

The Word Reflux means to flow back or return. Gastroesophageal reflux is when what’s in your stomach backs up into your esophagus and it causes irritation that leads to the symptoms of GERD. In Normal conditions, A ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) normally keeps the top of your stomach closed. It relaxes and opens when you’re swallowing to allow food through. GERD happens when the LES relaxes and opens up when you aren’t swallowing. This allows your stomach contents to flow back up the esophagus.

Some lifestyle issues that can cause GERD may include:

  • Being overweight
  • Overeating
  • Eating foods such as citrus, chocolate, and fatty or spicy foods
  • Having caffeine
  • Having alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Asthma

GERD Symptoms:

The most common symptom of GERD is frequent heartburn, felt by a painful, burning sensation in the middle of your chest. Also, Regurgitation is common for everyone in which food and liquid containing stomach acid come back up into the throat or mouth. Other common symptoms of GERD:

  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitating your stomach’s contents
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore throat or an irritated feeling in your esophagus

Diagnosing GERD:

If you face any of the above symptoms then you must consult with a stomach specialist/Gastroenterologist. If the doctor suspects you might have GERD, they’ll conduct a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Also, several tests may be used to diagnose GERD including:

  • X-ray of the upper digestive system
  • Endoscopy (examines the inside of the esophagus)
  • Ambulatory acid (pH) test (monitors the amount of acid in the esophagus)
  • Esophageal impedance test (measures the movement of substances in the esophagus)

Treatment and Medication Options for GERD:

  • Lifestyle Changes: The treatment may depend based on the symptoms you faced. Gastroenterologists give the first recommendation for Lifestyle changes i.e. include eliminating or avoiding certain foods, eating smaller meals, or staying upright for a couple of hours after eating.
  • Medication: Also, Your doctor gives some medication for treating GERD. Over-the-counter antacids and H2 blockers may help decrease the effects of stomach acid. Proton pump inhibitors block acid production and also may be effective.
  • Surgery: In most cases, lifestyle changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD. But sometimes, surgery is needed. Surgery may be the preferred treatment for people who do not like the prospect of having to take drugs for many years.


If you want to away from GERD then you should maintain your health and adopt some changes in your lifestyle like

  • Avoid Smoking
  • Regular Exercise
  • Eating at least three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid certain food like greasy foods, spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint, and coffee
  • Practice relaxation techniques

If you are avoiding these types of food and still experience regular heartburn, it is important to visit a doctor as there may be other underlying issues causing the symptoms.

Dr Aditya Shah