Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a medical condition in which the contents of stomach get regurgitated back into the esophagus due to improper functioning of the valve muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter. The condition is commonly associated with heartburn which is a burning sensation occurring in the chest or the throat. If left untreated, these medical conditions may lead to certain other medical conditions and health complications. Pepsin and bile which are contained in the stomach acid are rather strong chemical compounds so they are known for causing the damage to the esophagus once they get regurgitated.
Treatment & Prevention Options
The main factor in the treatment and prevention of GERD are certain life style changes which need to take place. They are often combined with several new eating habits in order to provide the patient with even better results. Those who suffer from GERD need to sleep in an elevated position in order to relieve and prevent the symptoms of this medical condition. Certain other life style changes include wearing loose fitting clothes, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes or other tobacco based products. It is also highly recommended to eat smaller meals and avoid having any evening meals. Certain food items also need to be avoided and those usually include tomato juice, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, acid containing foods, spicy foods, fatty foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, peppermint and chocolate.
One may also need to take certain types of medications in order to get rid of GERD and its annoying symptoms. Antacids are commonly taken after meals, in two doses, with an hour between each dose. Antacids may be based on different elements such as calcium, magnesium or aluminum. Calcium based antacids are the best, since the other two types may be related to the occurrence of diarrhea and constipation. Histamine antagonists are very efficient in preventing the stimulation of the cells which are in charge of the production of stomach acid. There are also different types of proton pump inhibitors and pro motility drugs which can be very helpful in some cases. Foam barriers are also very efficient in preventing the reflux of liquids.
Surgery is another option for those who suffer from GERD, but it is not that common of an option. Surgery is performed on patients who suffer from different pulmonary problems, Barrett’s esophagus, recurrent stricture of the esophagus, severe esophagitis or large hiatal hernia.