In gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), contents of stomach (like acid, food or bile) get reflex backed into the esophagus (tube connecting stomach to throat) frequently, causing symptoms of chronic heartburn and discomfort. Occasional acid burps, discomfort and heartburn are not at all harmful and in US, around 20% of adults show GERD symptoms of acid regurgitation and heartburn at least one time in a week.
Anyone can develop GERD at any point of time in the life and the risk increases with old age. Pregnant women are more prone to develop GERD, due to enlarged uterus pressure on the stomach.
Severe Symptoms Of Gerd Complications
But, in case one experiences frequent heartburn and leaves it untreated, the stomach acid may burn the esophagus lining, causing it to narrow or thin down. There could be change in esophagus cell lining, known as Barrett’s esophagus that may increase the risk of esophagus cancer. Only a small number of individuals with GERD develop the condition of Barrett’s esophagus.
Sometimes, stomach content may move into the throat and pass through the vocal chords into the lungs, resulting in damaged lungs, a chronic dry cough, voice hoarseness or asthma. Untreated symptoms of GERD could lead to various health complications. Hence, one should know the symptoms well and visit the doctor, in case the symptoms appear more than twice a week.
Primary And Secondary Symptoms Of Gerd
The primary symptoms include nausea, heartburn and regurgitation. Heart burn is a burning pain in the centre of chest that starts in the upper abdomen and may extend up to back or neck. Sometimes it is more intense or high pressure pain, instead of the usual burning pain and mimics the heart pain. Heartburn linked to GERD is more commonly observed post meal. Secondary symptoms of GERD include sore throat, nausea, laryngitis, hoarseness, lumpy throat, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), earaches, bad breath, chronic dry cough, increased saliva, asthma and severe chest pain. In case of chronic pain in the chest, consider it as an emergency and visit the doctor immediately.
Symptoms Of Gerd In Infants And Children
Coughing, recurrent vomiting, breathing problems and a failure to thrive are the main symptoms of GERD occurring in infants and small children.
Gerd Symptoms That Could Be Life Threatening
Consider it an emergency if, even after consuming heartburn medicines twice a week, heartburn does not subsides.
If heartburn and indigestion is reduced after use of medications beyond three weeks, and is accompanied by atypical symptoms like weight loss, dark colored stools, vomiting, arm or jaw pain and dysphagia, one need to seek immediate medical attention. Those experiencing atypical chest pains, shortness of breath, chronic cough and asthma should consult the doctor. With proper testing, the doctor can distinguish whether symptoms are of chronic GERD or it is a heart problem.
Prevention Of Gerd
Avoid consuming mints, chocolates, fatty foods nicotine, alcohol and caffeinated beverages like colas or coffee as these tend to relax esophagus sphincter causing more amount of acid reflux. Cut out on carbonated drinks, juices, citrus fruits, tomato sauce and spicy foods that irritate the lining of esophagus making GERD symptoms more severe.
Quit smoking, wear loose clothes, consume smaller meals, lose weight (those who are overweight) and refrain from lying down for three hours after food will reduce acid reflux possibility and relieve one from GERD symptoms.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.