Everything You Need to Know About Acid Reflux and GERD

Introduction

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition that affects the digestive system. Throughout the west, an estimated one in five adults is likely to have this condition. In the Philippines, incidence of the disease has been growing rapidly, especially as western diets and lifestyles continue to become more prevalent. It can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat, and can even lead to serious health complications if left untreated. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about GERD symptoms as well as its treatment options.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat. This can happen after eating a large meal or drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Acid reflux is a common problem that affects people of all ages, although it is most common in adults over the age of 40.

 

There are several different types of medications that can be used to treat acid reflux, and in some cases, surgery may be necessary. If you think you may be suffering from acid reflux, it is important to see your doctor so that he or she can diagnose and treat the problem. Get started on any interventions you may need by learning how EVA works.

What causes GERD?

GERD is caused by a variety of factors. The most common cause is a weak or damaged lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this muscle is weak or damaged, stomach acid can leak back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Other causes include pregnancy, obesity, smoking, and certain medications.

What are GERD symptoms?

The symptoms of GERD can vary from person to person. They may include:

  • Heartburn, or an uncomfortable warmth or constricting sensation in the chest. This symptom sometimes causes patients to think they are experiencing a heart attack.
  • Regurgitation
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A sour taste in the mouth. This is often accompanied by regurgitation of food.
  • Persistent dry cough
  • The sensation of a having a lump or foreign object in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bloatedness
  • Early satiety or feeling of fullness from eating

What are GERD treatment options?

There are a variety of GERD treatment options available depending on the severity of your symptoms. In mild cases, over-the-counter antacids may be all that is necessary to provide relief. For more moderate to severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend prescription medications, such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers. These medications work to decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage caused by GERD. If you have GERD, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

doctor indicating where gerd symptoms occur

What medication can I take for GERD symptoms?

There are a variety of medications that can be used to manage GERD symptoms. These include over-the-counter options like antacids and H2 blockers, as well as prescription medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Your doctor can help you determine which medication is right for you, based on the severity of your symptoms and other factors.

Are there any possible complications for GERD symptoms?

Yes, there are a number of potential complications associated with GERD. Some of these, though inconvenient, are relatively benign, though one of them could be potentially dangerous. These include:

 

  • Ulcers, or open wounds, particularly in the stomach or the upper part of the intestine
  • Strictures, or narrowing of the passageways for food, usually caused by scar tissue forming on the walls of the passage
  • Barrett’s esophagus, which is a change in the lining of the esophagus that can lead to cancer

 

To learn more about how EVA Teleconsult can help with preventing these complications, consult our FAQs.

How do I manage GERD symptoms without medication?

There are a few things you can do to manage your GERD symptoms without medication. 

 

  • First, try to avoid trigger foods and eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. Trigger foods include fried, fatty, spicy, sour, or tomato-based foods, as well as chocolates and most carbonated drinks and caffeinated drinks like coffee. 
  • You can also prop yourself up with pillows while you sleep. This prevents acid from rising into your throat.
  • Avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime. 
  • Manage your stress level, as GERD symptoms are sometimes stress-induced.
  • Finally, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake

 

If these lifestyle changes don’t help, talk to our doctors about other options.

Can GERD be cured?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the severity of GERD symptoms can vary from person to person. However, many people find that making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals, can help to alleviate their symptoms. In some cases, medication may also be necessary to control GERD. Usually, medication and lifestyle modifications go hand in hand to manage this illness.

Does drinking water help acid reflux?

Yes. Drinking water helps neutralize some of the acidity in the stomach and esophagus. Some people have also reported a therapeutic benefit to drinking hydrogen carbonate-rich water as well.

How EVA Teleconsult can help manage GERD symptoms

EVA Teleconsult can help with a wide variety of health concerns, including lifestyle conditions such as GERD. Through EVA, you will receive the guidance you need protect yourself or your loved ones from the discomforts brought about by this condition. That’s because at EVA Teleconsult, our patients can always expect:

  • Same-day and on-time appointments – No more awkward waiting outside a doctor’s office. We value your time as much as you do. You can book same day appointments and our consultations always start on time
  • 30 minutes of consultation – Our doctors explain your condition completely and thoroughly to your satisfaction, and give you all the time you need to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have.
  • Five-star rated doctors – We speak your language and explain things in a way you can understand. No wonder so many of our patients leave our doctors glowing reviews!

If your GERD symptoms seem to be worsening or are becoming more frequent, or if over-the-counter medication no longer helps, then it’s time to talk to the experts. 

 

Take the first step in giving yourself and your family the peace of mind and protection you deserve and book an online consultation today.

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