Gastroesophageal reflux disease: more than just heartburn

Filed in: Diseases.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when fluids and foods that must naturally reach the stomach return to the esophagus. When this happens, fluids, food, and stomach acid can irritate the throat.

Many people have shown or will experience heartburn during their life. Although it is uncomfortable, heartburn is not usually a serious health problem in most people. However, if heartburn occurs frequently and is persistent, it can be a sign of a more serious medical problem, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic disorder that involves the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. If left untreated, it can cause several complications, such as esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, chronic lung disease, and Barrett's esophagus (a change in the lining of the esophagus that increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer).

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<p>Stomach acidity is the most common symptom of GERD. The pain or discomfort caused by heartburn is usually located in the middle of the chest to the top of the neck. In the case of patients with gastroesophageal reflux, the acidity is frequent, constant and / or severe.</p>
<p><strong>The most common symptoms of this condition include:</strong></p>
<p>                The burning sensation in the chest, just behind the sternum, occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes or a few hours. Chest pain, especially when you crouch, sit horizontally or eat. Burning in the throat or the presence of an acid, acid and salty liquid behind the neck. Difficulty to swallow. The feeling that food adheres to the middle of the chest or neck.   </p>
<p>It is possible for a person to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux and experience one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, but without having heartburn.</p>
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Other less common symptoms of GERD include:

Sore throat Hoarseness especially in the morning Cough Respiratory problems such as asthma Bad breath

Report these symptoms to your doctor, it is necessary to diagnose the disease. The specialist may consider special tests, such as endoscopy or gastric pH monitoring, to determine the severity of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment.


Although the causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease are not always known, certain risk factors increase the likelihood that a person will develop this condition. However, just because a person is exposing themselves to these risk factors does not mean that they will automatically suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Here are some of the risk factors:

– Hiatal hernia. The esophagus passes through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus, which helps close the lower esophageal sphincter. Hiatus hernia occurs when a small portion of the stomach and sphincter are pushed through the thoracic cavity of the hiatus. This can cause weakening of the sphincter and will not be able to block acid reflux effectively.

– Homework. Many women develop GERD during pregnancy. Almost half of pregnant women experience heartburn at some time, and up to 25% of them suffer from heartburn on a daily basis.

Some doctors believe that this is because, when the fetus grows, it puts pressure on the stomach and pushes it towards the diaphragm. This increased pressure on the stomach can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to open, even when it is not necessary. Therefore, acid reflux occurs. In addition, normal hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can weaken the sphincter, another factor that can trigger gastroesophageal reflux disease.

– smoke

Certain foods may increase the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux or worsen the symptoms of this condition. Among these are:

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<p>                Chocolate Mint Fatty foods Tomato products Non-alcoholic drinks with caffeine Alcohol Citrus fruits and juices Certain foods spices   </p>
<p>– Use of certain medications. Some medications can increase the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux. These medications include certain birth control pills, tricyclic antidepressants used to treat depression, anticholinergic medications, and calcium channel blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, or arrhythmias.</p>
<p>– Consumption of alcohol</p>
<p>– Overweight or obesity.</p>
<p>– High levels of stress.</p>
<p>There are several treatment options for people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease. The doctor is the one who will decide which treatment is appropriate, depending on a number of factors, such as:</p>
<p>    The severity of symptoms Intervals of symptoms How much does the patient's life affect these symptoms? What other treatment has been tried in the past?   </p>
<p><strong>Other methods of treatment</strong></p>
<p>– Change of lifestyle and diet: depending on the situation of each patient, the symptoms can be improved only through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. Many people find that there are several elements that worsen the symptoms. For that, it may take some time to experiment and discover exactly what to change in the diet, or what changes must be made in the lifestyle to blur the manifestations of the disease.</p>
<p>– Medication: As part of the treatment for gastroesophageal reflux, your doctor may prescribe medication to decrease the production of stomach acid. Other medications</p>
<p><em>Gastroesophageal reflux disease: more than just heartburn, source of the article:</em></p>
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