Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD disease is a kind of disorder which affects the lower esophagal sphincter (LES), which is a muscle ring that exists between esophagus and stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux can cause heart burns and acid indigestion wherein the stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting the mouth and stomach (esophagus).
It is believed that people with Gastroesophageal reflux can be because of a medical condition called hiatal hernia. Balanced and proper diet and lifestyle changes are mandatory to get rid of Gastroesophageal reflux. In severe cases, people may require medication or surgery. Gastroesophageal reflux is a medical condition in which contents of the stomach is returned to the oesophagus causing indigestion and heartburn.
If you are prone to acid reflux, then you may experience:
If you are prone to acid reflux during the night, then you may experience:
The cause behind Gastroesophageal reflux can be due to a frequent acid reflux. What happens when you swallow food is that a circular band of muscles located in the bottom of esophagus relaxes and the food and liquids flow into your stomach. The sphincter again closes. If the sphincter relaxes or weakens abnormally, the contents return backs to the esophagus.
If this happens repeatedly, the acidic contents can irritate your esophagus making it inflamed. Conditions like obesity, pregnancy ,delayed stomach empting all can cause the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux in a person. Acid reflux can also be caused by smoking, eating large meals or late night meals, eating fatty fried foods or triggers, drinking alcohol or coffee and aspirin medications.
The treatment begins by diagnosing the Gastroesophageal reflux in a person. The diagnosis for GERD is done through the following:
1. Upper endoscopy: A thin flexible tube fitted with camera and light known as an endoscope is inserted down the throat. The inside of esophagus and stomach is then examined. If the reflux is present, then the test results will be normal. Endoscopy can also detect esophagus inflammation and other complications. This is also used to check for Barrett's esophagus using a sample of tissues (biopsy)
2. Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test: This is to identify for how long acids in the stomach are regurgitating by placing a monitor in the esophagus. A computer is connected with a strap to wear around your waist and strap around your shoulder. The monitor is a thin, flexible tube that is taken to examine esophagus through your nose. Often a clip is placed in your esophagus which gets passed through stool after two days.
3. Esophageal manometry: the rhythmic muscle contractions when you swallow in the esophagus is measured. The force and coordination during exertion of muscles are measured through esophageal manometry.
4. X-ray: X-ray of the upper digestive system: you will be asked to drink a chalky liquid which fills inside the digestive lining track and X rays are taken after drinking. The coating of the liquid allows the surgeon to examine the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the intestine. The narrowing of the esophagus can be examined by swallowing a barium pill which will interfere with swallowing.
After the diagnosis, the treatment plan is chosen based on the condition of the patient.
Gastroesophageal Reflux treatment:
When the symptoms are severe and when medications are not able to provide proper relief to the patient then, surgery may have opted accordingly. Surgery options available are as follows:
Patients who are having symptoms of chest burn and acidic indigestion and are facing these complaints frequently, he /she may opt for diagnosis and treatment. Patients who have taken over-the-counter medications for heartburn more than twice a week and in spite of it are not getting relief are eligible for the treatment. Surgery will be recommended when the medications don’t cure these symptoms.
The option for going for the surgery shall depend on the patient other health conditions like Blood Pressure, Diabetes, auto-immune diseases, etc. and the doctor shall then recommend for the surgery based on the situation of the patient.
If the symptoms are minor and can be corrected using diet and lifestyle changes, then such patients need not avail the suggested treatment. Apart from that deciding the surgery for the patient shall depend on the situation of the patient and it shall be executed only after the recommendation of the specialist.
The medicines used for the treatment of the Gastroesophageal reflux disease are safe if consumed in the right quantity.
The post-treatment guidelines for the Gastroesophageal reflux disease are as follows:
There may be times when GERD can cause some serious complications in a patient. as a result of too much acid in the stomach, a person might suffer from esophagitis. The condition of esophagitis may lead to bleeding of the oesophagus or ulcers. There may be chronic scarring due to the narrowing of the esophagus. A condition known as Barrett’s esophagus may also be developed in people suffering from the condition of GERD. It can also lead to esophageal cancer.
The recovery time may vary from person to person situation and medication condition. The severity of symptoms and indigestion can be prevented over a short course of time of few days. If adopted lifestyle changes and dietary changes, the results can be somewhat beneficial and the recovery may be soon with medication which can be of few days and weeks. Surgery may take 8 to 10 weeks to get cured and start a normal routine.
It is possible to prevent the occurrence of GERD if a person makes certain lifestyle changes in his/her life. Given below are some of the tips which might help in the prevention of the GERD.
The treatment is reasonable and the medications would cost you around Rs 100 –Rs 300 on an average. However, depending upon the place and clinic the surgery can cost you around Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000.
The medications and surgery often give good results for treating the Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can be quoted as a semi-permanent solution as one needs to adopt lifestyle changes and dietary habits to make them better and thus have a permanent solution. But the acid refluxes can occur again due to bad eating habits, thus a properly balanced diet and a perfect lifestyle are essential for a permanent solution.
The foods which must be avoided if a person is suffering from the condition of GERD are given below:
The home remedies for the Gastroesophageal reflux disease are as follows:
Relative risk: Low
Side Effects: Low
Time for Recovery: Medium
Price Range: From: Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000.