GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease can be a serious condition. It takes place in children and is quite common. The disease can often be unrecognised as the symptoms may be misunderstood. This is sad, as GERD generally is treatable. Serious complications might arise if it hasn’t been properly treated. Heartburn is not the sole symptom, but is the typical symptom for GERD. The disease may not show any other visible symptoms. Heartburn may be resulting from disorders taking place outside and inside the oesophagus. GERD gets mistreated or self-treated way too often. It is chronic in nature and treatment is long term even after the symptoms have been managed. Daily life style modifications need to be followed for complying with the medicines. Education and follow ups can help in managing it. Painful symptoms which might undermine a person’s life quality often characterize GERD. Various techniques may be used effectively for treating GERD. They include changing lifestyle patterns, medicine use and surgery. Chronic GERD sufferers need accurate diagnosis and need help from their doctors for receiving the best possible treatment.
There is a lower oesophageal lining abnormality in Barrett’s oesophagus. It is supposed to be due to chronic GERD. Most people suffering from GERD don’t have any such abnormality. Those having Barrett’s oesophagus have a greater chance of having oesophageal cancer. An endoscope can be used to detect Barrett’s oesophagus, but a biopsy is essential for diagnosis. GERD diagnosis may be suspected from the patient’s complaints to their doctor, more so when they are typical. If the patient has uncommon symptoms or the doctor feels the need for confirmatory tests, here are a few diagnostic essentials:
Esophagram- In this oesophageal radiographic study, the patient is made to swallow barium and the radiologist can see the stomach and oesophagus under fluoroscopy. This can help determine any problem of oesophageal narrowing or the presence of any hiatal hernia. It can even estimate of the extent of muscular contractions in the oesophagus. The small intestine and the oesophageal lining can also be directly viewed with the endoscope passing into the small intestine via the mouth, oesophagus, small intestine and stomach. Potential damage can be viewed with a direct view of the oesophageal lining.