GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition in which the stomach acids spill back into the esophagus due to a malfunctioning diaphragm muscle just above the stomach sac. People suffering from such a condition are likely to experience heartburn almost every time they have a meal.
However, not everyone who suffers from heartburn necessarily suffers from GERD. In fact, occasional heartburn is quite common and does not indicate any underlying condition. However, if the frequency of heartburn increase, you should probably get yourself checked by a gastroenterologist. Apart from the burning sensation in your chest, you may also experience a sourness at the back of your throat.
Here is a look at some of the leading complications in the body that can lead to GERD.
- Obesity: Obese people are at a greater risk of suffering from the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This is because the fat deposited in and around the stomach region in obese individuals can sometimes lead to the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, the muscle flap that separates the stomach from the esophagus, to loosen. This leads to the stomach contents spilling back up the esophagus.
- Stress: Even though stress does not directly lead to GERD, it may act as a catalyst for the symptoms of the disease. Studies have revealed that people who are stressed out are at a greater risk of complaining about GERD symptoms than people who are in a relatively relaxed state of mind. Doctors call this condition ‘hypervigilance’, where even a little discomfort may seem like an extreme pain.
- Hiatal hernia: This is a condition where the stomach itself pushes against the LES muscle, causing it to open. A hiatal hernia is an underlying condition and in such a case, immediate treatment is necessary to eradicate the GERD symptoms completely.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women undergo several hormonal changes in their bodies. Some of these changes may have an adverse effect on the body of the mother but are necessary for the overall growth of the fetus. One of these hormones is progesterone whose concentration in the blood increases drastically during pregnancy. This can sometimes lead to the mother developing GERD symptoms. However, the condition should be treated once the baby is delivered and the mother’s hormone levels come back to their normal levels.
At any rate, people suffering from GERD should consult a gastroenterologist and avoid smoking, drinking alcohol. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!