Diagnosis of GERD

The Importance of a GERD Diagnosis

Before you learn about what goes into a doctor’s GERD diagnosis, you must first learn about this painful and uncomfortable health condition.  Some people will mistake GERD with heart burn.  This is because GERD symptoms can be very similar.  In a way, GERD is just an extreme and severe version of heartburn.

First, we need to talk about the causes of this illness.  There are many causes, such as obesity, that can cause the problem.  Generally this will lead to the sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach becoming faulty.  In a healthy body, this opening will only open when food needs to pass into the stomach.  It will then close for the remainder of the time.  This helps prevent the stomach acids from reaching the esophagus.  While the stomach can handle these acids, the esophagus can’t, which will cause damage.  GERD patients will have stomach acid going into their esophagus on a regular basis, causing discomfort, pain and damage.

GERD symptoms can be quite severe.  Think of how it feels to have heartburn.  This is uncomfortable and painful.  Well, GERD is similar but feels much worse.  It can also come on stronger based on certain conditions.  For example, you will feel it more profoundly when you are lying down.  This causes the stomach acid to creep up the esophagus a lot easier.  For best results, you should prop up your upper body while you sleep.  While this may not be as comfortable, it will lessen your GERD pain.  Scientists have also found that patients will have less pain if they sleep on their left side as well.

Some foods have been known to cause symptoms of GERD.  Drinks and foods with a lot of vitamin C have been particularly known to cause pain in the patient.  This is often very painful, so it is wise to avoid foods of this nature altogether.  It can also happen for people who drink coffee or eat chocolate.  While avoiding these foods won’t eliminate the symptoms of GERD, it will lessen them and make the pain more manageable.

It is important to get a GERD diagnosis because the side effects of this health problem are quite severe.  If it goes unchecked, you may find that you have irreversible damage of your esophagus.  This condition has also been known to cause esophageal cancer in patients who have it severely.

When you notice the symptoms of this condition, be sure to go to your doctor immediately.  They have many ways to tell if you have GERD.  The first step will be to take an x-ray of your abdomen.  They will have you drink a liquid that is laced with radiation so that they can see the effect it has on your system.  If they suspect that you have GERD, they will then do an endoscopy of your throat and esophagus.  This is a little video camera that will take pictures of the damage there.  This way, they will know how severe the condition is.

Since the effects of GERD, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease, can be very harmful to your health, it is a necessity that you get diagnosed by a professional.  Once you do, they will be able to treat the problem.  Based on how severe the damage is, you may need to go through surgery.  They also may prescribe medication for you to take.  This medication will lessen the affect of the health condition and will help you live your life with much less discomfort and pain.  Some doctors will also urge you to change your diet and the way you sleep.  This is often the treatment for people who have only mild symptoms of GERD.  Then they can avoid surgery or medication.

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