GERD is a common condition that affects the digestive system. GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which means it's when acid from your stomach flows back up into your esophagus and causes heartburn.
It can also cause other symptoms like chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or trouble swallowing. It's caused by factors like diet, lifestyle, medications, and anatomy. It can be treated with changes in your diet, lifestyle changes, and medicine.
What Are the Symptoms of GERD?
The symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease include:
- Heartburn: Heartburn is a burning sensation that you may feel in your chest or throat. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of GERD.
The pain can sometimes be severe. - Chest pain: The pain can sometimes be severe and can feel like it's coming from your chest. It may also spread to your shoulders, neck, or arms. Chest pain can signify that Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is getting worse, and you should see your doctor if the pain is severe or doesn't go away.
- Nausea: Nausea is a feeling of sickness in your stomach that may make you feel like you want to vomit.
- Vomiting: Vomiting is the act of throwing up. It's usually caused by nausea, a feeling of sickness in your stomach.
- Trouble swallowing: This is called dysphagia. Dysphagia is when you have trouble swallowing food, liquids, or saliva. You may feel like food is stuck in your throat or that it's hard to swallow. Dysphagia can signify that GERD is getting worse, and you should see your doctor.
What Causes Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
GERD is caused by factors like diet, lifestyle, medications, and anatomy. Several things can cause GERD, but the most common causes are:
- Diet: Overeating or eating certain foods can cause GERD. Foods that can cause it include spicy foods, fatty foods, acidic foods, and caffeine.
- Lifestyle: Smoking, drinking alcohol, and being overweight can cause Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
- Medications: Taking certain medications can cause GERD. Some common medications that can cause GERD are aspirin, ibuprofen, and steroids.
- Anatomy: Some people are born with the condition that makes them more likely to get GERD. This condition is called hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is when the stomach moves up into the chest cavity.
Treatment Options for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
There are several treatment options for GERD. The most common treatments are
- Changes in diet: GERD can be treated with changes in your diet. There are several changes that you can make to help relieve GERD symptoms. Some common changes include: avoiding spicy foods, avoiding fatty foods, avoiding acidic foods, avoiding caffeine, eating smaller meals more often throughout the day.
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes are one of the most common treatments for GERD. Some common lifestyle changes that can help relieve the symptoms of GERD include: quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, losing weight if you are overweight, exercising regularly, sleeping with your head elevated.
- Medication: Antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are the most common drugs.
- Antacids: Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. This can help relieve the symptoms of GERD. Some common antacids include Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox.
- H2 blockers: H2 blockers are a type of medication that helps to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. They work by blocking the action of histamine, which is a chemical that helps produce acid in your stomach. H2 blockers are available over the counter.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of medication that helps to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. They work by blocking the action of histamine, which is a chemical that helps produce acid in your stomach. PPIs are available over the counter.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition that affects the digestive system. It can cause several symptoms, including chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and trouble swallowing. GERD is caused by factors like diet, lifestyle, medications, and anatomy. There are several treatment options for GERD, including diet, lifestyle changes, and medicine.