What is GERD?

Find Out What GERD is

Have you heard of GERD?  You may know someone with this problem or you may suspect that you have it yourself.  Before you can make such an assumption, you must first learn what it is, as well as what the causes, symptoms, and diagnoses are.  Once you know this information, you can make a better decision on whether or not you have this painful medical condition.  This can also help your doctor make a better GERD diagnosis.

GERD is known by physicians as Gastroesophageal reflux disease.  This disease is very similar to heartburn in the way it works and how it feels.  The biggest difference is the severity of the condition.  Also, GERD is more commonly contained in the esophagus while heartburn can affect the stomach as well.

GERD happens when the opening from the esophagus to the stomach does not close and open properly.  In a healthy body, it will only open when food or drink needs to pass into the stomach.  Otherwise it stays closed.  This is because the stomach acid can do very bad damage to the esophagus.  For people with GERD, this opening will often stay open, making the acid go up there, causing pain and damage.

There are several causes to this condition.  It will sometimes happen out of nowhere, but it can also happen with people who are morbidly obese.  Either way, once it starts to occur, it is very hard to stop.  Once you feel symptoms of this health condition, you should see a doctor at once.  Symptoms are similar to heartburn, but it will be more in the chest.  This burning sensation can go as high as the back of the throat and can cause trouble with swallowing.

People find that their GERD symptoms are more severe during certain situations.  These are most affected by what you eat or how you sleep.  For food, citrus is one of the worst things that you can eat or drink.  The vitamin C aggravates the stomach acid and causes extra pain.  In addition, when you sleep lying down, the acid has an easier chance of creeping up into your esophagus.  Many patients find that their symptoms are worst at this time.  To lower your chances of having a bad night’s sleep, you can prop up your upper body with a bunch pillows.  Researchers have also found that they have less GERD symptoms when they sleep on their left side, compared to all other sleeping positions.

In order to know more about the conditions, you may need to get a GERD diagnosis from a physician.  Go into the meeting knowing all of your symptoms.  They will need to know about your diet and when you feel the symptoms most often.  With this information, they will then do several tests.  The first test that they will likely do is an x-ray of your abdomen.  In order to see the results, they will feed you a drink laced with barium, which will help them watch the liquid go down your esophagus in the x-ray.

After they determine that you do have GERD, they will then run tests to see how severe it is.  With this knowledge, they will know the necessary treatment in order for you to feel better with your condition.  It could be a change in diet or sleeping posture.  If it is more severe, it could be with surgery or various prescription medications.  Either way, it is a good idea to listen to your doctor.  If you have GERD badly enough you may not ever have it cured.  Even so, it is best to follow their advice so that you can minimize the damage to your esophagus.