By Dr Aloy J Mukherjee , Gastroenterology
Gastro esophageal disease is a disorder of the digestive system that causes complications in the lower esophageal sphincter. This condition is characterized by reversal of the acidified liquid content, into the esophagus. This condition damages the esophagus lining by causing inflammation.
Causes of GERD (acid reflux)-
The cause of GERD is complex and may involve multiple causes. Moreover, different causes may affect different individuals or even in the same individual at different times. A small number of patients with GERD produce abnormally large amounts of acid, but this is uncommon and not a contributing factor in the vast majority of patients.
The factors that contribute to GERD are:
- lower esophageal sphincter abnormalities,
- hiatal hernias,
- abnormal esophageal contractions, and
- slow or prolonged emptying of the stomach.
The symptoms of GERD are:
- Heartburn (burning sensations in the chest due to indigestion).
- Ulcers may develop in the esophagus.
- There may be inflammation in the throat and lungs.
- Fluid may accumulate in the middle ear.
- The treatment for GERD includes making changes to in your diet and lifestyle. The aim of the treatment is to curb damage to the esophagus due to reflux of the acidic food.
- You should avoid eating foods such as coffee, chocolate and foods which are high in fat.
- Certain citrus fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes can also damage the lining of the esophagus.
- Reduce the size of your meal portions to control the symptoms of GERD.
- Do not immediately go to bed after meals; try eating at least 2 hours prior to your bedtime. Bear in mind that being overweight puts you at a greater risk of GERD.
- Quit smoking as smoking happens to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, thus aggravating chronic GERD.
- Rest with your head elevated to decrease symptoms of heartburn. This posture allows gravity to reduce the reflux of the food through the esophagus.