GERD, or as it is known among medical professionals, gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus. This can irritate the lining of your oesophagus and cause significant pain and discomfort, as well as abdominal pain. Acid reflux is experienced by most people now and again, but for some, can be a daily or weekly occurrence. GERD is a mild condition that is only diagnosed after the person suffering from abdominal or chest pain experiences it daily or weekly. GERD can be managed quite simply with lifestyle changes and OTC medications. With some, however, there may be a requirement for stronger medications or even surgery to reduce their negative symptoms.
This page will hope to offer you a few expert tips to help you manage GERD, as well as sharing with you a few things you may not have known about GERD and the process for being diagnosed.
There are a few different ways that GERD is diagnosed. To confirm a GERD diagnosis, your doctor may have to refer you for a few of these tests:
- Upper Endoscopy
An upper endoscopy is when a very thin tube with a light and camera attached is inserted into your throat to examine the lining of your oesophagus and stomach. The tests can sometimes show up as normal when reflux is present, although there is usually inflammation which is indicative of reflux. Endoscopies can also be used for the collection of biopsies.
- pH Probe Test
With this test, another tube with a monitor attached is placed in your oesophagus to identify when and how long bouts of stomach acid last and regurgitates. The monitor is connected to a computer banded around your waist. The monitor can be a catheter, as mentioned, threaded through your nose, or it can be fitted during an endoscopy, clipped to your oesophagus.
- Esophageal Manometry
Esophageal manometry is a test wherein your oesophagus’s muscles are tested for contractions when you swallow. The test will also measure the force your muscles exert when contracting, which can indicate whether or not GERD is present.
X-rays can be taken in your upper-digestive tract. The x-rays will be taken after a thick liquid is consumed that coats and colours the inside lining of your tract. This colour and coating will allow a doctor to see a silhouette of your oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. You may also be required to swallow a barium pill which can indicate a narrowing of the oesophagus.
Once you have had GERD diagnosed through one of the formerly mentioned methods, you will begin a course of treatment. GERD is a condition that can be quite successfully treated, and one that can be recovered from so that you can live an ordinary and healthy life. The longer you go without treatment, the more you will suffer and the more your quality of life will be hindered because you will be in constant suffering – or suffering every few days. Here are a few methods of management:
- OTC Medication
OTC medication is one of the first points of call for doctor’s when it comes to GERD. There are many medications available to treat GERD. Your doctor will advise you on which he or she may think is best and write out a prescription. If you do not think the drug the doctor is prescribing you is working, the internet can help you in finding coupons for other drugs used to treat GERD. They might help along with the drugs your doctor recommends.
Surgery is also very common when it comes to patients suffering from GERD. Surgery can be something you have very little say in, and if you want your symptoms reduced, you will have to undergo it. This could be because your oesophagus is too narrow, or for a number of other reasons.
Smoking can decrease your esophageal sphincter’s ability to function, contract, and behave the way that it should. Quitting smoking could be a great way for you to improve your GERD, and you may not even know it. Smoking is very harmful to most parts of your body, so it will come as no surprise that it can harm your oesophagus too.
- Healthy Weight
Excess weight puts a lot of pressure on your oesophagus. Losing weight is one of the first recommendations that a doctor may make to you as part of your treatment for GERD. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to a long, happy life.
Now, with the help of this page, you know how you may be diagnosed, as well as treated for GERD. GERD is a condition that can be managed or cured – so you must not suffer in silence, as there are options out there for you.