By Dr. Atul Sharma, Gastroenterology
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a chronic disease of the digestive system that affects the junction between the stomach and the esophagus. It occurs as a result of stomach acid or stomach contents flowing back into your esophagus (food pipe). Such a reflux irritates the lining of the esophagus which results in GERD.
What causes GERD?
GERD usually results due to the failure of the lower esophageal sphincter. In a healthy patient, the junction at which the esophagus connects to the stomach develops into a valve that prevents entry of substances such as stomach acid, enzymes and duodenal bile, from travelling back to the esophagus, where they may lead to a burning sensation and inflammation of the sensitive tissues of the esophagus.
Some Factors Which Cause GERD Include:
1. Obesity- Higher BMI (Body Mass Index) is associated with more severe GERD.
2. Hiatal Hernia- It increases chances of GERD due to motility and mechanical factors.
3. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome- It can be presented along with increased gastric acidity that results from the production of gastrin.
4. High Blood Calcium Levels: The high blood calcium increases the production of gastrin; thus leading to increased acidity.
5. Intake of medicines such as prednisolone.
6. Repeated vomiting or coughing in children
Symptoms of GERD include:
1. Chest pain
2. Burning sensation in the chest that may spread to your throat, giving a sour taste in your mouth.
3. Difficulty in swallowing
4. Sensation of lump in your throat
5. Sore throat or hoarseness
6. Dry cough
7. Acid reflux of sour liquid
In case you find yourself experiencing any of these conditions, you must seek medical care. If you experience frequent or severe GERD symptoms, you must make an appointment with a doctor immediately. Medical, endoscopic or rarely required surgical management is available.