A disorder of the digestive system, the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) generally affects the muscle that is in the shape of a ring, situated in between the esophagus and the stomach. The muscle is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The term Gastroesophageal Reflux can be defined as, the flow back of the stomach’s food content back up the esophagus.
During the process of digestion the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes to allow the food content to enter in the stomach and then retracts, to close the opening and prevent the stomach content from going back into the esophagus tract. In case of those who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, the lower esophageal sphincter is weak with its reflexes and fails to relax and contract properly.
The severity of the disease is wholly dependent on the extent of the faulty functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter.
What are the symptoms?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) has one very common symptom called heartburn, which is also known as acid indigestion. Heartburn causes discomfort in the neck and the throat. It leads to a burning and throbbing pain starting from behind the breastbone and slowly extends up to the neck and the throat. Persons suffering from heartburn have a bitter and sour taste in their mouth after every meal.
Heartburn can lead to a lot of discomfort and tends to become more severe especially after a meal. The burning sensation can last up to 2 to 3 hours. The discomfort tends to increase if you lie down or bend. People suffering from heartburn sometimes stand upright and take a short walk or take an antacid to clear the esophagus.
Recent studies have shown that in this age, more and more children have started suffering from heartburn and the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Symptoms seen in children are recurrent vomiting, coughing and breathing problems.
What is the treatment?
The treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is mostly in the form of change in lifestyle, diet and eating habits. The treatment for the condition endeavors to lessen any kind of damage to the esophagus tract.
It is recommended that you consult your doctor and acquire a strict dietary regime for yourself. Avoid taking any kind of food or drinks that may affect the reflexes of the lower esophageal sphincter. Chocolate, fried food, food with excess fats and peppermints are some food articles, which you should try avoiding. Citrus fruits, tomato and tomato products and pepper should also be consumed in low amounts.
If the dietary treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease does not have any effect on your body, then a surgery may be recommended. Although it is in very few cases that the doctor suggests a surgery. Fundoplication is the procedure that is performed to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. New findings in medical science have come up with endoscopic treatments so that the lower esophageal sphincter works better.
The Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) affects the digestive tracts of the human body. It leads to heartburn, which causes burning in the chest and discomfort. This disease can be controlled through a balanced diet and dietary restrictions.