GERD or The Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease


By Groshan Fabiola

The gastro esophageal reflux disease named GERD can be found at the level of esophagus, which becomes irritated or inflamed because of acid backing up from the stomach.The tube stretching from the throat to the stomach is called esophagus which is traveled by the food after we eat.

The hydrochloric acid is produced by the stomach and helps in the food digestion. The stomach presents a lining which resists to the corrosion of this acid. At the level of the stomach exists cells which are protected by a mucus. Unfortunately, the lining of the esophagus is not so resistant to fight with the acid of the stomach. The sensation of acid burning the esophagus is associated with the term heartburn, which is not accidental and it is given by its position, because the esophagus lies just behind the heart. The lower esophageal sphincter is composed by a ring of muscle at the bottom. This one prevents the reflux of the acid.

The food can pas slower by the sphincter action which relaxes during swallowing. The sphincter relaxation is made up by the GERD presence, which allows stomach to relax between swallows. Many people in the United States suffers by GERD, which is experienced weekly or daily by 10% of the adult population. Children and infants are also GERD. An unpleasant thing consists in the fact that the gastro esophageal reflux is not well known yet. The reflux can be worse by unusual lifestyle which may contribute to the appearance of several damaging factors. So the lifestyle of a person is influenced in worse by using alcohol or cigarettes, and by the obesity and poor posture.

There are some medications which can relax the lower esophageal sphincter like calcium blockers, theophylline (Tedral, Hydrophed, Marax, Bronchial, Quibron), nitrates, antihistamines. Consuming fatty and fried foods, chocolate, garlic and onions, drinking with caffeine, acid foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, spicy food, mint flavorings affects in a bad way the reflux. Disease like hiatal hernia, pregnancy, diabetes, rapid weight gain make the upper part of the stomach protrudes up above the diaphragm. This diaphragm acts as an additional barrier keeping the acid from backing up into the esophagus.

A hiatal hernia helps the acid to back up. It can be caused by persistent coughing, vomiting, straining, or sudden physical exertion. Beneath these factors obesity and pregnancy can badly damage the reflux. At people older than 50 year hiatal hernia is common. Usually hiatal hernia doesn't need treatment, but in case when the hernia is twisted surgery may be required.

The most common symptom of GERD is a persistent heartburn. The burning pain can be localized in the center of the chest, just behind the breastbone. In most cases the pain becomes in the upper abdomen and goes up to the neck. The duration of a pain is about two hours. The heartburn is worse after eating. Sometimes lying down may harm worse. Heartburn can be associated with the acid indigestion, but it is not necessary that everyone with GERD to get heartburn. GERD includes other symptoms like: regurgitation of bitter acid up into the throat while sleeping or bending over, bitter taste in the mouth, persistent dry cough, feeling of tightness in the throat if a piece of food is stack there, wheezing. For children the most common symptoms are vomiting, coughing and respiratory problems.

So we must pay attention to what we eat and to keep ourselves away from a disastrous lifestyle for avoiding such kind of problems.