GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is apretty much common medical condition which involves leaking of the stomachacids into the esophagus. GERD is actually one of the most common medicalconditions of all times. It can affect people from all different age groups butit commonly affects men much more than it does affect women. It is a well knownfact that there are certain risk factors associated with gastroesophagealreflux disease and those include eating plenty of foods rich in fat, beingpregnant, using caffeine, tobacco or alcohol and being obese or overweight.Fortunately enough, GERD can be treated very easily by using several treatmentmethods, and most people actually respond very well to the treatment whichinvolves medicaments. It is not uncommon for GERD to reoccur in some cases. Thatis why some patients need to take a long term course of medications which canbe of great help in controlling the symptoms. Some cases may not be treatedwith medications, and the lack of response requires a surgical intervention inorder to resolve the condition. GERD mayalso lead to the development of certain complications such as bleeding of theesophagus, esophageal ulcers, bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and severalother mouth related problems.
The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn,regurgitation and dysphagia. Heartburn is characterized as a burning or painfulsensation below the breastbone. Regurgitation of stomach acid leaves anunpleasant taste in the mouth, while dysphagia can be characterized as problemsduring swallowing. There are also certain other less common systems of GERD andthose may include laryngitis, tooth decay, persistent cough, nausea and painwhen swallowing. GERD can also aggravate the symptoms of asthma in some cases.
GERD can be triggered by a large number of different factorsor causes. Sometimes different factors can also be combined. The main factor isa muscle called lower esophageal sphincter. This muscle is like a valve and itopens to let the food enter the stomach and then closes so that the stomachacids cannot leak back into the esophagus. When this muscle does not workproperly, GERD occurs. There are certain cases of gastroesophageal refluxdisease which occur for no apparent reason. Other common causes of GERD include gastroparesis and increased pressureon the stomach. The medications used forthe treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease include nitrates,benzodiazepines, theophyllyine, calcium-channel blockers and anticholinergics.