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Gastric reflux - a minor problem with a bad side

Gastroesophagealreflux disease or GERD, commonly known as acid reflux or acid reflux,is a common condition that affects people of both sexes and all ages.It is not a severe condition by itself, and is caused by improperfunction of the sphincter muscles at the end of the esophagus. Thesemuscles are ring - like, circular muscles located at various ducts inour organism whose function is to act as a valve and permit or blockpassage of something through the said duct. In this case, it is meantto seal off stomach content, swallowed and semi - digested food mixedwith stomach juices, so that it cannot return to the esophagus. Toclarify further, let's say that sphincter muscles control theemptying of the bladder and the colon as well.

If for somereason the sphincter does not seal well, the stomach content, whichcontains a very powerful acid known as stomach acid, can flow backinto the esophagus. Lining of the stomach is acid-proof, but liningof the esophagus is not, and it can be burnt and damaged by the acidfound in the refluxed content.

Causes ofgastric reflux

For mostpeople, gastric reflux is a result of unhealthy eating habits andlifestyle. In a majority of cases, it is caused by eating late meals,spicy or greasy food, eating too much, or drinking excess alcohol orcaffeine (from coffee, tea or caffeine - containing drinks). It isalso a common problem for pregnant women, because of the increasedpressure that the constantly growing womb exerts on the stomach.Lying down or bending right after meals, thus bringing the stomach inline with or above the esophagus, can also cause reflux of stomachcontent.

Problems

Although mostwhat majority of people ever experience from gastric reflux isheartburn, GERD can become chronic, and can lead to ulcers or evenesophageal cancer. It is therefor important to recognize symptoms ofacid reflux as soon as possible and treat and prevent its renewedappearance.

Symptoms of gastric reflux

Symptoms ofgastric reflux include heartburn, nausea, cough or constant cough,sore throat, chest pain, difficulties connected to swallowing andregurgitation. Children affected with GERD may be irritable, withoutappetite, and may be crying for no apparent reason.

Treatment

Best thing todo is to change eating habits, which means reducing size of meals,eating several small meals instead of a few large ones, avoidingspicy and greasy food, and losing excess weight.

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