The term, GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a complex term for what lay people call “acid reflux”–a problem with the lower esophageal sphincter that keeps acid away from esophagus where it is very irritating and erosive. It is a chronic disease that can lead to severe esophageal erosive esophagitis or even esophageal cancer
While acid reflux primarily affects adults, children and babies can also get the disease, depending on the circumstances. Certain foods can make GE reflux worse as can going to bed shortly after a meal. Acid reflux is actually a very common disease, especially in adults.
The terms “heartburn” and “acid indigestion” are those used also to describe acid reflux. In fact, heartburn or pain in the chest or upper stomach is one of the most common symptoms of GERD.
The other symptoms you’ll learn about acid reflux are those like chronic coughing, a continual ear ache, sinus infection symptoms, and a change in the voice. All of these symptoms can lead to erosive disease Acidaburn in the esophagus and even to cancer of the esophagus in severe cases.
Even if you have continual heartburn symptoms, you won’t necessarily show on the tests as having GERD. If the symptoms, however, occur more than once per week, you may, in fact, have GERD.
The most important thing to learn about acid reflux is that it causes an increase in the acidity of the esophagus from acid that comes up from the stomach through the GE sphincter. Too much or too little acid production can cause this condition as well as things like pregnancy, tight clothes, being overweight, and possibly having a yeast infection in the esophagus.
While it may sound strange to have too little acid being a cause of GERD, it happens because you need some acid in the stomach to open the opening to let the acid out of the stomach. With too little stomach acid, the acid stays in the stomach and the acid can get up inside the esophagus instead. This can lead to acid reflux.
There are many available treatments for acid reflux today. Treatment can be directed at using antacids, anti-acid prescription drugs, lifestyle changes and even surgery. Once you know about acid reflux, it’s difficult not to employ some of the lifestyle changes which may reduce the need for the more medications. Some of these lifestyle changes include eating a diet low in fat, salt and small in size. Diets that eliminate onions, tomatoes, spicy foods and citrus products are good as well. As to other dietary habits, eliminating alcohol, smoking and caffeine will help the situation as well.
Let’s look at what you need to know about acid reflux treatment:Maintain a healthy diet: This is a natural way to cure GERD by avoiding those foods that are known to cause or worsen the disease process. This means avoiding the coffee in the diet, avoiding alcohol, fatty foods, onions, salty foods and avoiding laying down shortly after eating. Think about raising the head of your bed at night by at least six inches. This provides relief in many of the patients who try this technique. It prevents acid from coming up from inside the stomach to the esophagus. There are a lot of medications available for acid reflux. Some are by prescription and are acid proton pump inhibitors while others block histamine-2 receptors and can be gotten at the drug store without a prescription.