Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic symptom of damage to the mucosal lining of the esophagus due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This condition is caused due to abnormal relaxation of the esophageal sphincter or due to improper expulsion of the gastric juices or due to a condition is known as hiatal hernia. A temporary or permanent solution is possible. A proper consultation with a stomach doctor is mandatory

Acid reflux affects the respiratory system and larynx. The condition is called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR, or extraesophageal reflux disease. Unlike gastroesophageal reflux disease, this condition does not cause heartburn. Silent reflux is also known as acid reflux.

Signs and Symptoms

GORD is characterized by reflux, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. Other less common symptoms include sore throat, excessive salivation, nausea and pain in the chest region.

In some cases, gastroesophageal reflux disease also results in severe injuries to the esophagus. This can result in conditions such as reflux esophagitis, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Other atypical symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease include chronic cough, laryngitis, asthma, erosion of dental enamel, dental hypersensitivity, sinusitis and pharyngitis.

Certain studies indicate some relation between gastroesophageal reflux disease and diseases such as sinusitis, ear infections and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, the exact relationship has not yet been established.

Diagnosis Of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is diagnosed using various diagnostic techniques such as ambulatory gastric pH monitoring, barium swallow X-rays, esophageal manometry and esophageal gastroduodenoscopy. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is commonly diagnosed using continuous pH monitoring by gastroenterology specialist in Coimbatore

Treatment Options

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is treated using antacids, histamine antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, promotility drugs, foam barriers and surgery.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also be treated using other methods. The simplest treatment option is by making changes to lifestyle, particularly to eating habits. 

Reflux is normally worse immediately following meals. This is because the stomach is full of food at the time and relaxations in the lower esophageal sphincter are more frequent. Having smaller and earlier meals can significantly reduce the risk of reflux.

Certain foods such as chocolate, peppermint, alcohol and caffeinated drinks increase the risk of reflux by reducing the pressure in the lower esophagus sphincter. It is better to avoid these foods. Likewise, foods rich in fats should also be avoided. Other foods such as citrus juices, carbonated drinks and tomato juice which are acidic should also be avoided. It is also recommended to abstain from smoking because it can also cause reflux.

Gastric reflux occurring during the night is more dangerous when compared to that occurring during the daytime. During sleep, the posture makes it easier for reflux to happen. The lack of gravity also prevents refluxed acid from moving back into the stomach. Elevating the upper body during sleep can prevent reflux during the night and is generally recommended for people suffering from this condition.