Many of us have ever experienced gastroesophageal reflux: that sensation that a hot liquid rises our esophagus and even reaches our mouth, causing heartburn and discomfort. This condition can occasionally occur due to copious meals, ingestion of highly citrus or spicy foods, or excess fat consumption. However, when the episodes begin to appear frequently, we could be facing a picture of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for its acronym. This condition can cause significant damage to the esophagus. At FastlyHealwe, explain gastroesophageal reflux’s causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Why do I have reflux?
When we eat or drink, and food or liquid reaches the stomach, a band of muscles located at the end of the esophagus known as the esophageal sphincter closes to prevent these from passing back into the esophagus, keeping them in the stomach to start the digestive process.
However, certain conditions such as inappropriate eating habits, gastric diseases, or the intake of certain medications can cause the esophageal sphincter not to close properly, allowing stomach acids to pass into the esophagus and even into the mouth.
Factors that contribute to the development of gastroesophageal reflux are:
- We have a hiatal hernia.
- Suffering from obesity
- You are taking tricyclic antidepressants, medicines for high blood pressure or heart problems, medications for motion sickness, sedatives, or progesterone.
- Having scleroderma is an autoimmune disease in which changes occur in the skin, blood vessels, and organs.
- Eat a diet rich in fatty foods or excess alcohol.
- Eat large meals, especially if the food is high in fat, citrus, or high in spices.
- Go to bed after eating.
- The pregnancy.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux
In addition to the burning sensation that comes from the stomach and goes up to the esophagus, reflux can present other symptoms such as:
- Nausea after eating.
- Feeling that food is stuck in the esophagus.
- The acidity can rise to the mouth and cause a burning sensation.
- Although less common, other symptoms such as regurgitation, hiccups, coughing or respiratory disturbances, and difficulty swallowing food may also occur, a sign that requires prompt medical attention.
When is it essential to visit a doctor?
If gastroesophageal reflux occurs occasionally, this may be due to a specific excess of food or going to bed with a full stomach. However, when you begin to manifest this condition frequently, that is to say, several times a week or even daily, it is essential to visit a gastroenterologist.
GERD is a condition that can significantly affect health, as the esophagus is not protected to withstand stomach acids and can end up deteriorating, giving rise to a condition known as Barret’s esophagus, in which this organ presents changes in its lining.
Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux
If you were wondering how to relieve reflux, pay attention. To effectively treat gastroesophageal reflux, significant changes in diet and habits must be made. Also, some medications can relieve symptoms.
It is essential to make dietary and habit changes such as:
- Give up smoking.
- Avoid foods rich in fat, citrus fruits, alcohol, and spices.
- Avoid large meals. It is preferable to eat five times a day in small, easy-to-digest portions.
- Eat calmly. Doing it in stressful situations can make digestion difficult and favor the appearance of this condition.
- Do not lie down after eating, do it when the digestion has already taken place, at least a couple of hours later.
- Do not wear tight clothing on the abdomen. This can prevent the esophageal sphincter from closing properly.
- If you are overweight or obese, losing weight will help you improve this condition.
- If the problem has started when starting any medical treatment, consult a specialist.
Some of the medications that relieve symptoms are:
- Medicines to treat heartburn and reflux, such as the Gaviscon range of products, form a protective raft in the pit of the stomach, preventing acids from rising into the esophagus, thus fighting the sensation of heartburn. This medicine is indicated to treat heartburn and burning caused by reflux in adults and children over 12 years. Read the directions for this medicine and consult your pharmacist. Gaviscon is a drug from Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare, SA.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Gastroesophageal Reflux: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment, we recommend entering our Digestive System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.