reflux disease (GERD)
is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid)
leak backwards from the stomach
into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).
This action can irritate the esophagus,
causing heartburn and other symptoms.
From Web MD:
reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal
sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Many
people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion
caused by GERD. Doctors believe that some people suffer from GERD due to a condition
called hiatal hernia. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet
and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication or surgery.
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux?
Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus.
In normal digestion, the LES opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach's contents to flow up into the esophagus.
The severity of GERD depends on LES dysfunction as well as the type and
amount of fluid brought up from the stomach and the neutralizing effect of saliva.
What Is the Role of Hiatal Hernia in GERD?
Some doctors believe a hiatal hernia may weaken the LES and increase the risk for gastroesophageal reflux. Hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm (diaphragmatic hiatus). The diaphragm is the muscle separating the abdomen from the chest. Recent studies show that the opening in the diaphragm helps the support lower end of the esophagus. Many people with a hiatal hernia will not have problems with heartburn or reflux. But having a hiatal hernia may allow stomach contents to reflux more easily into the esophagus.
Coughing, vomiting, straining, or sudden physical exertion can cause increased pressure in the abdomen resulting in hiatal hernia. Obesity and pregnancy also contribute to this condition. Many otherwise healthy people age 50 and over have a small hiatal hernia. Although considered a condition of middle age, hiatal hernias affect people of all ages.
Hiatal hernias usually do not require treatment. However, treatment may
be necessary if the hernia is in danger of becoming strangulated (twisted in
a way that cuts off blood supply, called a paraesophageal hernia) or is complicated
by severe GERD or esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus). The doctor may
perform surgery to reduce the size of the hernia or to prevent strangulation.
What Other Factors Contribute to GERD?
Dietary and lifestyle choices may contribute to GERD. Certain foods and beverages, including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcoholic beverages, may trigger reflux and heartburn. Studies show that cigarette smoking relaxes the LES. Obesity and pregnancy can also play a role in GERD symptoms.
Extracted from http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/reflux-disease-gerd-1
From Mayo Clinic:
astroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms.ccasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of GERD include acid reflux and heartburn. Both are common digestive conditions that many people experience from time to time. When these signs and symptoms occur at least twice each week or interfere with your daily life, doctors call this GERD.
Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But for people with GERD, these remedies may offer only temporary relief. People with GERD may need stronger medications, even surgery, to reduce symptoms.
Extracted from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/DS00095.
From National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.
You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called heartburn. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD. You can also have GERD without having heartburn. Your symptoms could include a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.
Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In some cases, you might need medicines or surgery. However, many people can improve their symptoms by: avoiding alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn; eating smaller meals; not eating close to bedtime; losing weight if needed; and wearing loose-fitting clothes.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Need More Help?
If you are suffering with GERD or know someone who is, you can go to these websites:
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/default.htm, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gerd/DS00967, http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/gerd-and-sleep, http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgical/gerd_reflux.html, and/or consult a doctor if you have a medical concern about Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For even more information, contact Deb at 1-978-343-4009 or Help@GERDisease.com. You can also write me at Deb Kulkkula, 381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407. If I can't help you, I will connect you with someone who can help you.
For more information,contact
Deborah "Deb" LeBouf Kulkkula,
M Ed, M B A, Hon Ph D
381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407.
or at 1-978-343-4009.
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