Do you experience heartburn or acid reflux on a regular basis? Do these symptoms get worse when you eat certain foods? If so, you may be suffering from a condition known as GERD. GERD (short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a common condition that can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and a host of other painful symptoms. Thankfully, the symptoms of GERD can be effectively treated – most often with conservative methods. This article is all about GERD. We’ll explain the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and potential treatment options for the condition.
What is GERD?
First thing’s first – what is GERD? Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition in which stomach contents return to the esophagus after passing through. This is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When functioning properly, the LES opens to allow food and liquids into the stomach, and prevents things from returning back up into the esophagus. In patients with GERD, the LES is weakened or doesn’t function properly, which allows stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus.
GERD Potential Risk Factors
When it comes to GERD, there are many potential risk factors that can increase a patient’s likelihood of the condition, including (but not limited to):
- Hiatal hernia
- Diet and lifestyle
If any of these factors apply, you may have an increased risk of developing GERD and you should keep an extra keen eye on any symptoms that arise.
Symptoms of GERD
GERD symptoms can be mild to severe, and acute or chronic. Each patient will experience symptoms differently, so it’s important to treat each case individually for optimal treatment. Here are some of the common symptoms that may indicate a GERD diagnosis:
- Discomfort in the Abdomen
- A Bitter Taste in the Mouth
GERD shares a lot of symptoms with other conditions (heartburn, acid reflux, etc.). As a result, it can be difficult to distinguish between GERD and other diseases and conditions. That’s why it’s essential to get a full diagnosis of the underlying cause of your symptoms before thinking about treatment options.