Tags: Digestive Problems | digestive system | diseases | GERD

Digestive System Diseases: What Is GERD?

By    |   Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 02:27 PM

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive system disorder that causes heartburn or pain in the throat or upper chest from the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Acid reflux, heartburn, or acid indigestion are symptoms of GERD because of a weakened or relaxed muscle in the esophagus, says WebMD. The lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly after the intake of food or liquids.

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Normally, the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach opens as contents are consumed and are sent into the stomach. The muscle then closes to prevent any acidic juices from backing up into the esophagus.

In the case of GERD, the sphincter fails to close, allowing the acidic contents from certain foods or fluids to surge back up into the esophagus. This causes the uncomfortable feeling of acid reflux or heartburn.

Many people occasionally experience the sour taste or temporary pain from acid reflux or heartburn. GERD, however, is among the chronic digestive system diseases. Symptoms occur frequently, usually after eating, drinking or lying down following a meal.

Other symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, chronic sore throat, hoarseness, bad breath, and even inflammation of gums or cavities, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Chest pain may occur and it is advisable to seek medical attention to rule out more serious problems, such as heart disease or heart attack.

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Digestive system diseases can be serious, but those such as GERD are often treatable through a restricted diet, according to Dr. Larry Good, a gastroenterologist at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York.

“Of course no one wants to hear that they can’t eat certain foods, but many times, eliminating acidic things from the diet, such as tomatoes, onions, and red wine, can have an impact” on controlling the disease, Good told LiveScience.

Lifestyle changes also may help to relieve or eliminate symptoms of GERD, according to AAAAI. They include exercise and losing weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol or caffeine intake, avoiding heavy meals, waiting two to three hours before lying down after eating, and elevating the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches to prevent symptoms while sleeping.

Over-the-counter antacids and H2 blockers are made to decrease stomach acid, while proton pump inhibitor drugs block the production of acid in the stomach. Doctors can prescribe stronger medication or may recommend surgery to correct the esophageal muscle for severe digestive system diseases.

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GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive system disorder that causes heartburn or pain in the throat or upper chest from the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.
digestive system, diseases, GERD
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2016-27-14
Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 02:27 PM
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