Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD)

Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease, stomach acid goes back up as a reflux into the oesophagus where food enters. This can cause discomfort to the lining of the oesophagus and create inflammation. In certain cases, acid from the stomach can reach until the vocal cords or go into the lungs.


Causes

There is no isolated cause that was determined for Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease. This generally refers to the weak or impaired lower oesophageal sphincter (muscular valve between the stomach and the oesophagus) that allows the stomach acid to flow back.

There are several risk factors that contribute to this condition, for example:

- Diseases such as Zollinger-Elison Syndrome and Scleroderma

- Increased production of gastrin, a hormone that regulates the release of stomach acid

- Obesity

- Pregnancy

- Smoking

- Use of certain medications


Symptoms

The most common symptom is heartburn. The feeling can bring discomfort and a burning sensation of the chest that spreads from the stomach to the throat. Other symptoms might be present that includes:

- Bitter taste in the mouth (acid regurgitation)

- Bloated tummy

- Burping

- Feeling of a lump in the throat

- Hoarseness of voice

- Pain or discomfort in the chest

- Persistent cough

- Persistent sore throat


Treatment

Treatment might vary according to the severity of the condition:

Lifestyle changes for the treatment of mild GERD symptoms that includes:

- Avoid eating at late hours

- Avoiding food that induces acid reflux

- Eating smaller meals

- Maintaining a healthy weight

- Quit smoking

- Raising your bed head

- Wearing comfortable clothing to avoid pressure on stomach Prescription medication might be recommended for severe cases that is not responsive to lifestyle changes.


Complications and Related Diseases

- Barrett's Oesophagus characterised by long-lasting GERD and increases the risk of Oesophagus Cancer

- Inflammation of the vocal cords

- Lung damage including Pulmonary Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis

- Stricture (blockage) of the oesophagus caused by scar tissues that appears due to recurrent ulcerations

- Ulcers in the oesophagus caused by burning from stomach acid


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