Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. GERD occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash (reflux) irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD.
Signs & Symptoms:
GERD signs and symptoms include:
A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to your throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Hoarseness or sore throat
Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
Sensation of a lump in your throat
GERD is caused by frequent acid reflux the backup of stomach acid or bile into the esophagus.
When you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of your esophagus relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again.
However, if this valve relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus, causing frequent heartburn. Sometimes this can disrupt your daily life.
This constant backwash of acid can irritate the lining of your esophagus, causing it to become inflamed (esophagitis). Over time, the inflammation can wear away the esophageal lining, causing complications such as bleeding, esophageal narrowing or Barrett’s esophagus (a precancerous condition).
How To Cure:
Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain it. If you are overweight or obese, work to slowly lose weight no more than 1 or 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Ask your doctor for help in devising a weight-loss strategy that will work for you.
Avoid tight-fitting clothing. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
Avoid foods and drinks that trigger heartburn. Everyone has specific triggers. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine may make heartburn worse. Avoid foods you know will trigger your heartburn.
Eat smaller meals. Avoid overeating by eating smaller meals.
Don’t lie down after a meal. Wait at least three hours after eating before lying down or going to bed.
Elevate the head of your bed. If you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep, put gravity to work for you. Place wood or cement blocks under the feet of your bed so that the head end is raised by 6 to 9 inches. If it’s not possible to elevate your bed, you can insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Wedges are available at drugstores and medical supply stores. Raising your head with additional pillows is not effective.
Don’t smoke. Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.