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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acid constantly flows back into the esophagus. The acid reflux can cause irritation to the lining of the esophagus. GERD is a common condition and can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgery. If an individual experiences persistent symptoms of GERD, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible, as this can lead to complications such as esophageal ulcers, strictures, and even cancer.

Some of the common symptoms of GERD include a burning sensation in the chest (also known as heartburn) after eating, having the sensation of acid or food coming back up into the throat or mouth, acid reflux (or regurgitation) after eating, difficulty swallowing, or feeling like there is a lump in the throat.

Factors that may increase the risk of getting GERD are ageing, pregnancy, obesity, over-eating, or taking medications which may irritate the gut. These include ibuprofen, naproxen, iron salts, aspirin and potassium chloride. Eating too quickly or very close to bedtime, or eating foods high in fat, garlic and onion might cause the condition too.

Individuals who experience chest pain, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, or constant regurgitation of food and stomach acid, should seek medical attention. The healthcare provider can diagnose the condition through a series of tests, such as upper endoscopy, or x-ray of the upper digestive system. Medications such as antacids and alginates can help to neutralise stomach acid and protect the gut from gastric acid. If medicaiton does not help to improve the condition, the doctor might recommend surgery.