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Gastroesophageal Reflux Tips

Poor Digestion - Don t Take Lightly. Good Health Begins In The Gut!

PGDM In Cosmetology, Trichology & Weight Managmen, MD, BHMS
Homeopath, Mumbai
Poor Digestion - Don t Take Lightly. Good Health Begins In The Gut!

A happy gut starts with a healthy diet.  A balanced diet can help to prevent or manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic constipation, cardiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, migraines, leaky gut syndrome and more.

Here are some basic ways to take care of your gut:

  • Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated. 
  • Eat high-fibre foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Include probiotics in diet, eat fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Focus your diet on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and low fat dairy products.  
  • Exercise daily.  Incorporating physical activity into your daily life improves fitness, as well as contributes to microbiota balance.
  • Manage your stress. Try Yoga
  • Avoid processed, fried, junk and refined food.
  • Skip the bad habits: smoking, excessive caffeine, and alcohol.        

GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease!

MD - Acupuncture, Diploma In Accupuncture, Advanced Diploma In Accupuncture
Acupuncturist, Delhi
GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease!

GERD
In medical terms, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly termed as GERD, is a prolonged recurrence of gastroesophageal reflux. It is a disorder in which the acid available in the stomach moves to the esophagus and retains there for a longer duration. Esophagus is a ring of muscle and is the part of the tube that connects the throat with the stomach. Gastroesophageal means something related to the esophagus and the stomach.

Reflux refers to flowing back or returning of some liquid or fluid from its expected place or position. So, GERD is defined as a condition in which the liquid (acid) flows back from the stomach to the esophagus and causes adverse effects. When the acid from the stomach reaches the esophagus, it may damage the vital tissues.

Most of us suffer from acidity often. In case an individual suffers from acidity for more than twice a week for a prolonged period, the condition may be associated with GERD. Normally, a valve, known as Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), is placed between stomach and esophagus, which relaxes only to swallow food, water and saliva.

This LES valve prevents the stomach juices and flowing back of acid to the esophagus and the throat, especially when we lay down on the bed. When this valve stops functioning as expected and relaxes unnecessarily, the acid from the stomach may reach the esophagus. GERD is a common disease. It is believed that almost every individual experience GERD at least once in the lifetime.

As per the reports from American College of Gastroenterology, more than 15 million individuals from America experience suffer from heartburn almost every day. This count is around 20% of the America’s population. Note that the individuals of any age group may suffer from GERD. Although GERD is mainly a digestive disorder, but it is identified that individuals suffering from Asthma are more prone to suffer from it.

The reason being, since Asthma causes the LES to relax more frequently. This might allow the stomach to reflux the digestive juices along with the acid to the esophagus. Additionally, some of the asthma medicines, like theophylline, may raise the tendency of LES reflux, which could trigger GERD.

Symptoms of GERD
The various symptoms of GERD include:

- Burning sensation in the chest and throat

-  Excessive burping

- Stomach bloating

- Observing the acid taste in the mouth while burping

- Eaten food reaching to the mouth while burping

- Difficulty in swallowing food

- Constant pain in the chest for few hours after the meals

- Chest pain while swallowing the food or water

- Excessive production of saliva in the mouth

- Constant throat soaring for several days

- Hoarseness of voice

-  Inflammation in the gums

- Cavities of teeth

- Bad breath even after proper brushing of teeth

- Difficulty in breathing

- Lack of appetite

- Vomiting or nausea

- Lump feeling in the throat

- Disturbed sleep with uneasiness in the throat

- Wheezing sound while breathing

Causes of GERD
Normally, GERD is a common problem, which may occur due to numerous reasons. However, at times it occurs due to unknown reasons. The primary probable causes of this disease are mentioned below:

- Overeating

- Lying on the bed immediately after eating

- Eating too spicy food

- Weakening of esophagus due to poor muscle control or weakness in the body

- Due to certain medication comprising antihistamine, calcium channel blocker, sedative, antidepressant, and those for the treatment of asthma

- Being overweight, which induces more pressure on the stomach and abdomen causing LES to open unexpectedly

- Pregnancy also causes more pressure on the stomach and opens LES inappropriately

- Direct and passive smoking

- Overconsumption of alcohol

- Hiatal hernia, in which the diaphragm builds pressure on the stomach

Prevention of GERD
Although you may observe GERD due to multiple reasons, there are several measures that you may take to prevent it to some extent. Some of those are discussed below:

- The patients of Asthma or those who would have suffered from GERD must quit smoking.

- Elevate or raise the head side of your bed to around 6 inches than the feet side.

-  Maintain a healthy weight. Take measures to lose weight in case it is beyond the prescribed body-mass index. The excessive fat on your belly would increase the pressure on your stomach. This would forcibly open the LES on often basis, which will then allow the acid to reach at the esophagus.

- Limit the consumption of alcohol.

- Avoid heavy meals, especially in the evening. Do not go to the bed for at least three to four hours from your dinner or any other meal.

- Limit the consumption of caffeine-based products like coffee.

- Avoid consuming the theophylline drug, if possible.

- Exercise every day. However, do not work out immediately after your meals.

- Avoid eating over-spicy and junk foods.

- Consult a good dietician and eat accordingly during the pregnancy.

- Do not wear very tight clothes near to the belly. This may again increase the pressure on your stomach and open the LES, which may then allow the acid to reach at the esophagus.

- In case you are already suffering from GERD, avoid chocolates, peppermint, and tomato.

How is it diagnosed?
GERD is a common disorder that individuals often tend to ignore. Many of them assume it as a digestion disorder. The maximum that they do is to take an over the counter antacid tablet or syrup, which would ease the symptoms for a shorter duration. However, if those recur frequently or if the symptoms persist for several days, you visit your doctor.

The physician would assess the symptoms and may recommend the patient to visit the gastroenterologist for specialized treatment and investigations. One or more of the following investigations may be prescribed for the patient to confirm the occurrence of GERD:

- Esophageal pH and Impedance Monitoring: This test identifies the quantity of the acid content available in the esophagus in different states of the patient’s body, like before and after eating or sleeping.

- Upper Gastrointestinal or GI Endoscope: In this test, a camera attached with a tube is passed through the food pipe of the body. This camera captures pictures within the food pipe and the esophagus. The same process may also be used to extract a smaller piece of tissue, which would be sent to the laboratory for investigations.

- Upper Gastrointestinal or GI Series: In this test, X-ray captures pictures near to the esophagus that identify the causes of GERD.

- Esophageal Manometry: This test is based on measuring the contraction of muscles in the esophagus while swallowing food or water. It identifies the strength of the LES. In case it is found to be weaker, the individual is more likely to suffer from GERD.

- Bravo Wireless Esophageal pH Monitoring: This test involves attaching a small capsule to the esophagus for near to two days or 48 hours. This capsule measures the acidity level at the esophagus caused by the acid reflux from the stomach. In case the acidity near to the esophagus is higher continually for around two days, the individual is suffering from GERD.

Treatment of GERD
If GERD is confirmed by the doctors once after assessing the reports of the prescribed investigations, they would treat the patient based on the severity of symptoms. In normal cases, those are treated through certain course of medication. Many of these medicines focus on reducing the acid content in the stomach of the patient, which may relieve the patients from the symptoms of GERD.

Some of the common medicines used for the treatment of GERD are mentioned below:

- Proton Pump Inhibitor: These drugs are formulized to reduce the acid content in the stomach. The least acid is available in the stomach, lesser will be the chances to get it refluxed to the esophagus, which may cause GERD.

- H2 Blocker: This is another class of drugs, which would reduce the production of acid in the stomach.

- Antacid: Antacids are very common and over the counter medicines, which act by reversing the impact of acid in the stomach through multiple alkaline ingredients. Those are quite useful in the acidity and heartburn. However, those may cause multiple side effects such as constipation and diarrhea.

- Prokinetic: This medicine stimulates the digestion process of the body, which would empty the stomach faster than normal. Once the stomach is empty, the acid could not reflux to the upper side and reach the esophagus, which would avoid GERD. Since these medicines enhances digestion in the patient’s body, the individual may suffer from diarrhea. Those also cause other side effects such as anxiety and nausea.

- Erythromycin: These are the antibiotics, which treat the bacterial infection causing indigestion. Once the infection is treated, the acid formation in the stomach of the patient will be normalized, and GERD may be avoided.

In some severe cases, the patient would not be relived from the symptoms of GERD by changing the lifestyle and following the course of prescribed medication. In such cases, the gastroenterologist might recommend the patient to undergo a surgical treatment. The surgeries could be of following types:

- Fundoplication: In this process, the surgeon stitches some part of the stomach’s top near to the esophagus. This minimizes the passage between the stomach and esophagus, which reduces the chances of acid reflux. In most of the cases, this process helps in reducing the symptoms caused by GERD.

- Endoscopic Surgery: This process involves endoscopic stitching of the LES, which tightens the muscles involved in closing the valve near to the esophagus. The surgery is carried out using radiofrequencies, which produce heat for creating a burning effect for tightening of the LES muscles.

Complications of GERD
Most of the individuals suffering from heartburn take it very lightly. They often follow some home remedies or consume the over the counter medicines to get relieved from it. However, some patients of prolonged GERD may be at risk of complications. Some of such major complications are discussed below:

- Oesophageal Ulcers: This is the condition in which the acid floating from the stomach to the esophagus damages the lining of the esophagus. This further causes formation of ulcers, which may bleed and cause pain. The patients may even find it very difficult to swallow their chewed food because of the formed ulcers.

- Scarred and Narrowed Esophagus: In case a patient suffers from GERD for a long duration, the continual impairment of the esophagus caused by the refluxed acid may narrow it. This will further make very difficult for the patient to swallow anything. In such a case, a small balloon looking device is used for the widening of esophagus to ease the condition.

- Barrett's Esophagus: In case GERD is repeated frequently and not treated well, the cells in the LES lining are impacted. There is a little risk that the patient’s suffering from this condition or Barrett's Esophagus may suffer from oesophageal cancer due to the impaired cells. Around 10% of the GERD patients attain the Barrett's Esophagus condition. Further, 5 – 10% of the Barrett's Esophagus patients may suffer from the oesophageal cancer.

Myths of GERD
Myth #1:
The only cause of GERD is eating spicy food.

There are lots of reasons causing GERD. Eating spicy food may be one of those.

Myth #2: Heartburn is a normal condition, which would heal either by its own or consuming the antacids.

Heartburn could be a symptom of GERD. If not treated on time, it may cause complications to the patient suffering from it.

Myth #3: Acidity is always caused by indigestion.

Acidity or heartburn could be caused by multiple reasons other than indigestion. It could also be a symptom of GERD, which must be treated by the doctor on time.

Myth #4: GERD may only affect kids and aged people

GERD can impact people of any age.

Myth #5: GERD is more likely to take place in the winters.

The patients may suffer from the symptoms of GERD in any season or month.

Myth #6: Healthy people with a robust immune system could not suffer from GERD.

Healthy immune system is not an important criterion for preventing the development of GERD in the body. However, those individuals whose esophagus muscles are weaker, are more prone to develop this disease.

3 people found this helpful

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - How Homeopathy Can Help?

DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), M.Sc - Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, MSc - Psychotherapy & Counselling
Homeopath, Bangalore
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - How Homeopathy Can Help?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occurs when there is an occasional backflow of digestive juices and acids to the esophagus. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can be treated with the help of Homeopathy to a great extent by managing the symptoms and controlling the acid reflux. There are various Homeopathic medicines that can be very effective when it comes to treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

Let us take a look what causes Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, what are its symptoms, and how effective is Homeopathy to cure this disease.

Cause of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
A muscle called Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) prevents the backflow of stomach acids into the food pipe, but when this muscle gets weak, it starts to behave abnormally. This leads the acids in the stomach to flow back into the Esophagus.

Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
There are several symptoms of GERD. Here are some signs that indicate that you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:

  • Heartburn (burning sensation in the throat and chest area)
  • Chest pain
  • Sourness in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • If you get a Gastroesophageal Reflux during the night, you may notice the following signs:
  • Disturbed sleep pattern
  • Chronic Coughing
  • Asthma
  • Laryngitis

Homeopathic Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Though the conventional treatment includes antacids and digestive medicines, these medicines can cause severe side effects like Gas, Swelling, Constipation and can also cause loss of Vitamins from the body. However, Homeopathic treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease has shown much better results and is completely safe.

The course of Homeopathic medication for treatment of GERD is prepared according to the severeness of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, your body, and your daily activities. Also, homeopathic medication is safe for people who are on multiple medications.

Homeopathic treatment not only prevents recurrence of Gastroesophageal Reflux, but also very effectively recovers body from the disease. Although Homeopathic procedure to cure Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a strategic one, it targets the root cause and cures the disease effectively.

The following Homoeopathic medicines may prove beneficial - Argentum nit, Cal.carb., China, Carbo veg, Lycopodium, Nat. phos, Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Robinia, sulphuric acid, etc.

The homeopathic medication of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can relieve you from the following issues:

  • Difficulty in swallowing food
  • Heartburn
  • A curdy or rotten taste
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Bloating

Homeopathic treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can work wonders if you take the right medicine for your problem. The overall process may take time, but the end result will be in your favour. For this, it is important that you visit a renowned Homeopathy Clinic in your area to get the best treatment for your problem.

3247 people found this helpful

Fundoplication - Know What Is It!

M.Ch - Paediatric Surgery, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon, Hyderabad
Fundoplication - Know What Is It!

Fundoplication is a kind of surgery which aims to prevent stomach contents from going back to the oesophagus. The operation is conducted by wrapping the upper half of the stomach, close to the lower portion of the oesophagus, thereby tightening the outlet of the oesophagus as it empties into the stomach. In maximum cases, this surgery of fundoplication gets performed by a paediatrician by using a small telescope and small instruments, which get placed through few incisions, in the size of a band-aid on the abdomen.

Why is the surgery necessary?
Fundoplication is usually recommended for children who have the following problems and symptoms, which include:

  • Children who have complications or persistent symptoms related to gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which do not improve through medication.
  • The symptoms of this problem include vomiting, oesophagitis gastrooesophageal stricture, recurrent pneumonia, breathing problems and insufficient growth.
  • Before undergoing the surgery, a paediatrician can perform some tests on the child to confirm GER, like pH probe study or oesophogram.

How is the surgery performed?
The surgery of fundoplication is conducted in the following manner:

  • As mentioned earlier, the surgery is performed with the use of a small telescope and miniaturized instruments that are placed through 3-4 band-aid size cuts on the abdomen.
  • The surgery is performed within two to three hours and a child might need to stay back in the hospital for 2-3 days after the surgery.
  • After the operation, when the child is in hospital, he/she would receive intravenous fluids along with pain medication.
  • As and when the child feels well, he/she would be allowed to eat, drink as well as take medicines by mouth.
  • For some patients, a gastrostomy tube is put inside the mouth to ensure the feedings get administered and the air gets released. The release of air is known as venting.
  • It would be difficult for the child to burp for a number of weeks after a fundoplication has been done. So, the venting ensures that air leaves the stomach, which would lead to a decrease in bloating and thus keep the child comfortable.

Diet
Little bit of time would be needed for a child to fully recover from this surgery and for food to go through comfortably into his/her stomach. The first two weeks would involve only liquid diet including:

  • Water
  • Juices
  • Milk
  • Milkshakes
  • Ice Cream
  • After this in the 3rd and 4th weeks, his or her foods can include mashed potatoes, pasta, fish, cereal, cheese.
  • Then after one month, they can slowly resume their usual diet.

Pain Management
Pain medication as per prescription is not required to be followed on a routine basis after discharge. When the child is back home, they only give either Acetaminophen or Ibuprophen.

1 person found this helpful

Causes Of Chronic Cough In Non Smokers!

MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Causes Of Chronic Cough In Non Smokers!

Some of the main causes of Chronic cough in the people who don’t smoke includes nasal sensitivities, asthma, post-nasal release and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.) It is important to identify the reason for a chronic cough, to throw the serious sickness out and furthermore to adopt the required treatment. 

 

6 people found this helpful

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: 6 Tips To Get Rid Of It!

DM - Gastroenterology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: 6 Tips To Get Rid Of It!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as it is commonly known is a digestive disorder that is caused primarily due to intestinal distress. GERD is caused in the muscle that lies between the oesophagus and the stomach, when the acid is produced in the stomach, it starts to flow backwards. For patients suffering from GERD, the acids flow back into the oesophagus instead of the stomach, causing symptoms like severe heartburn, chest pain and nausea, amongst others. So what does one do to deal with GERD? Here's a brief list!

  • Obesity: Being overweight and obese are two of the most important factors that contribute to discomfort in GERD patients. Working towards a healthier weight is a sure shot way of dealing with this ailment.
  • Alcohol and Smoking: The muscle ring that can be found between the stomach and the oesophagus relaxes with the intake of alcohol or with smoking, which prevents it from closing to stop the stomach's juices from reaching the oesophagus. So, giving up both substances would be a good idea if you are a GERD patient.
  • Go Gluten Free: Adopting a gluten free diet can help you cut out ingredients including grains and dairy products that contain more protein than what your digestive tracts can handle.
  • Other Dietary Measures: In order to handle GERD effectively, you will need to remove or reduce chocolate, fatty food, spicy food, and even oily and fried food from your diet. You may need the help of food with extra fibre, like fruit so that it can pass through the digestive tract faster.
  • Smaller and Well Timed Meals: Eating meals regularly and dividing them into smaller meals that can be digested quickly and more efficiently is one of the best ways of dealing with GERD to prevent the onset of backward flowing of stomach acids.
  • Exercise: Ensuring that you do not take a nap or lie down right after a meal and putting in a small amount of exercise everyday will also help in doing away with the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of this disease.

Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to deal with GERD. Yet, it would be best to see a doctor regarding severe cases where the symptoms do not abate and medication may be required. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gastroenterologist.

3733 people found this helpful

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - 6 Ways It Can Be Treated!

MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM - Gastroenterology
Gastroenterologist, Delhi
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - 6 Ways It Can Be Treated!

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a form of digestive disorder, which affects the lower oesophageal sphincters or the muscle ring present between the stomach and the food pipe. GERD incorporates the return of the contents of the stomach back to the oesophagus or food pipe. The functioning of the lower oesophageal sphincter is disrupted.

Causes

Hiatal hernia is a common cause of GERD. An unhealthy lifestyle and diet may also lead to GERD. Intake of an excess amount of chocolates, fried food, coffee or alcohol triggers the chance of a reflux. GERD also occurs in obese people and pregnant women.

Symptoms

Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is the primary symptom of GERD. The affected person may feel a burning chest pain which starts from behind the breastbone and reaches up to the throat. The feeling can be defined as food coming back to the throat with a bitter, acidic taste. The burning sensation may last as long as two hours.

Other symptoms include:

  1. Excess saliva secretion
  2. Chronic conditions of sore throat
  3. Laryngitis
  4. Gum inflammation
  5. Tooth cavities
  6. Unpleasant breath

In order to diagnose GERD, several tests may be conducted

  1. An X-Ray of the upper part of the digestive system.
  2. Endoscopy to examine the inner part of the oesophagus.
  3. Ambulatory acid test for monitoring the amount of acid within the oesophagus.
  4. An oesophageal impedance test to measure substance movement inside the oesophagus.

Treatment

  1. A person must make several changes to his daily lifestyle and diet plan for treatment of GERD.
  2. Food and beverages like chocolates, fatty food, coffee, alcohol and peppermint should be avoided in order to reduce the weakening of the lower oesophageal sphincter. Several food items irritate the damaged oesophageal lining and should also be avoided. They include citrus fruits, tomato and pepper.
  3. Smoking cigarettes results in weakening of the lower oesophageal sphincter and should be stopped to reduce GERD.
  4. One should elevate the head of the bed on which he or she sleeps on blocks measuring 6 inches. This reduces the heartburn as gravity minimizes stomach reflux to return to the oesophagus.
  5. Over the counter medicines can be used to cure GERD. Antacids are a good example and neutralize the acid in the oesophagus and stomach, reducing heartburn. Combining antacids with foaming agents is also effective. A foam barrier is formed over the stomach, preventing the occurrence of acid reflux.
  6. Proton pump inhibitors commonly called PPI are best drugs for control of symptoms. Occasionally prokinetic drugs are also used in combination with PPI.

Medicines for reducing acid in the stomach are prescribed in cases of chronic GERD, which include H2 blockers by the likes of cimetidine, famotidine or nizatidine. GERD is a digestive disorder which causes disruption in digestion, as reflux from the stomach is returned to the oesophagus. Proper treatment measures should be taken. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.

2005 people found this helpful

Problems Related To Digestion!

MEM , Diploma In Geriatric, MBBS
General Physician, Mohali
Problems Related To Digestion!

The human digestive system is a very complicated and sizeable component of the body. It starts right at the beginning of the mouth, ending at the rectum. Some of the major responsibilities of the digestive system include absorption of essential nutrients and elimination of wastes.

Not only do digestive problems have embarrassing and unwanted symptoms, serious, chronic diseases can be caused if the minor problems are not treated.

Some digestive problems are listed below:

  1. GERDThis is a burning sensation that results from acids in the stomach being squirted into the oesophagus. A burning sensation is felt, right from the chest to the end of the throat. Frequent heartburns can lead to GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), symptoms of which include dry cough, sore throat, chest discomfort and difficulty in swallowing.
  2. BloatingThis is caused due to the presence of excess gas in the colon, small intestines or the stomach.
  3. Dyspepsia: This is an uncomfortable feeling or pain which occurs in the upper abdominal regions, mostly a result of excess food intake. It is commonly referred to as indigestion. Dyspepsia can be discomforting and if prolonged, medical assistance should be opted for.
  4. Chronic ConstipationPersistent constipation (chronic) is a sign that there is a problem with the elimination of wastes. This usually happens when the colon is unable to move or pass stools. Other major causes of chronic constipation can be changes in your usual diet, various eating disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and excessive consumption of dairy products among others.
  5. Food Intolerance: This occurs when the digestive system is unable to tolerate certain food items. This condition is different from food allergies as it only affects the digestive system. Some of the common symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, gas and vomiting.

Possible Serious Conditions-

A gastroenterologist is a type of doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases involving the digestive system. If you continue to experience digestion problems, it’s time to make an appointment.

More serious signs could mean an emergency medical problem. Those signs include:

  • bloody stools
  • continuous vomiting
  • severe abdominal cramps
  • sweating
  • sudden, unintentional weight loss

These symptoms could be an indication of an infection, gallstones, hepatitis, internal bleeding, or cancer.

Medications-

You may be able to overcome digestion problems with treatment and lifestyle changes. Certain diseases of the digestive system might be long-term, but medications can help alleviate symptoms.

Identifying specific digestion problems and talking with a gastroenterologist can go a long way in terms of helping your doctor give you a proper diagnosis. Remember, you don’t have to put up with constant digestive issues.

3186 people found this helpful

GERD - Know How to Deal With it!

FELLOWSHIP IN ADVANCED LIVER SURGERY AND LIVER TRANSPLANTATION, FELLOWSHIP IN HEPATOBILIARY AND LIVER TRANSPLANT SURGERY, MASTER OF SURGERY, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Ahmedabad
GERD - Know How to Deal With it!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as it is commonly known is a digestive disorder that is caused primarily due to intestinal distress. GERD is caused in the muscle that lies between the oesophagus and the stomach, when the acid is produced in the stomach, it starts to flow backwards. For patients suffering from GERD, the acids flow back into the oesophagus instead of the stomach, causing symptoms like severe heartburn, chest pain and nausea, amongst others. So what does one do to deal with GERD? Here's a brief list!

  • Obesity: Being overweight and obese are two of the most important factors that contribute to discomfort in GERD patients. Working towards a healthier weight is a sure shot way of dealing with this ailment.
  • Alcohol and smoking: The muscle ring that can be found between the stomach and the oesophagus relaxes with the intake of alcohol or with smoking, which prevents it from closing to stop the stomach's juices from reaching the oesophagus. So, giving up both substances would be a good idea if you are a GERD patient.
  • Go gluten free: Adopting a gluten free diet can help you cut out ingredients including grains and dairy products that contain more protein than what your digestive tracts can handle.
  • Other dietary measures: In order to handle GERD effectively, you will need to remove or reduce chocolate, fatty food, spicy food, and even oily and fried food from your diet. You may need the help of food with extra fibre, like fruit so that it can pass through the digestive tract faster.
  • Smaller and well timed meals: Eating meals regularly and dividing them into smaller meals that can be digested quickly and more efficiently is one of the best ways of dealing with GERD to prevent the onset of backward flowing of stomach acids.
  • Exercise: Ensuring that you do not take a nap or lie down right after a meal and putting in a small amount of exercise everyday will also help in doing away with the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of this disease.

Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to deal with GERD. Yet, it would be best to consult a doctor regarding severe cases where the symptoms do not abate and medication may be required.

2216 people found this helpful

How To Get Relief From Heartburn?

MBBS
General Physician, Pune
How To Get Relief From Heartburn?

Heartburn is the name given to that burning sensation in your chest or throat that happens when acid rises up from your stomach into your mouth. Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, also called acid reflux.

The commonest heartburn trigger is your diet. Spicy, heavy food causes acid reflux. Coffee, soda, tomatoes, alcohol and chocolate are culprits too. Obesity, smoking and medications for hypertension and cancer are the causes of heartburn too.

Certain people are more susceptible to heartburn. Sports people experience heartburn more, usually because exercise is a big trigger. It does so by putting increased pressure on the abdomen, which can increase the risk of acid reflux.

What can you do when heartburn strikes?

  1. Wear Loose Clothes- Heartburn happens when stomach contents go back into the food pipe where the stomach acid burns tissue. If tight clothes constrict your abdomen, you can experience more heartburn. To get immediate relief, you can just loosen the belt of your trousers.

  2. Proper Posture- Sitting up or standing straight can control heartburn. A slumped body posture can compress the internal organs including the stomach. An immediate quick fix is to lengthen your spine by gently moving your head towards the ceiling.

  3. Eat Less- Overeating can cause the door between the stomach and food pipe to open, allowing contents to flow back and cause heartburn.

  4. Quick Home Remedies-

    • Drink teaspoonful of baking soda mixed into a glass of water whenever you suffer from heartburn. This is a home remedy that works.

    • Raise your body, if you’re lying down and experience heartburn. Use a pillow to elevate your body waist-up. This will get rid of heartburn fast.

    • Chewing gum can neutralise stomach acid. This is because gum increases saliva which clears off acid in the gut.

  5. Avoid Cigarette Smoke- Smoking, both active and passive are harmful, if you suffer from heartburn.

  6. Over-the-counter Medications- Antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are all effective in treating heartburn. PPIs work by blocking acid production, H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and antacids neutralise stomach acid.

  7. Melatonin- A common sleep–inducing supplement is being investigated as a heartburn remedy.

Always remember to check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy or supplement for heartburn. This is because supplements can have side effects or can interact with medications you may already be taking.

Common tips to prevent heartburn are to eat at least three hours before bedtime, avoid lying down immediately after eating and staying away from fatty and spicy foods. Maintaining a healthy weight is also key to preventing heartburn. It also helps if you do mild exercise regularly. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.

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