What is GERD?
GERD stands for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly referred to and known as acid reflux. Gastro simply means stomach while esophageal means esophagus, which is the tube that runs from your mouth down to the stomach. It’s the tube that carries your food and drink into the stomach from mouth consumption. Reflux simply means that your food flows backward or it backs up. To simply all of this into one sentence, GERD is a disease, or condition that partially digested food, bile, as well as acid within the stomach backs up into the esophagus.
What Exactly Causes GERD?
There is a small muscle located at the end of your esophagus in your stomach that is supposed to catch all the stomach acid and bad enzymes and store them; however, this muscle can sometimes relax too much causing the acid to be released into the esophagus. This muscle is known as the LES, or lower esophageal sphincter.
What Can Happen to Your Stomach and Esophagus?
When this food is backed up into the esophagus from the stomach, it contains a number of enzymes that are there to break down the food and ends up causing a burning sensation, irritation, pain as well as other symptoms. These digestive enzymes and acid from the stomach can actually cause damage to your esophagus, as it doesn’t have that thin lining as the stomach does to protect it from the acid.
When the disease goes untreated by a physician, there are a number of serious complications that GERD can cause. One of the conditions includes the narrowing of the esophagus, also medically known as stricture. Another condition is Barrett’s esophagus, which is severe damage to the esophagus that is commonly linked to cancer development. Two other conditions that could occur are bleeding as well as ulceration.
It is said for nocturnal acid reflux to cause more complications than acid reflux that occurs during the day and there are ways that you can help prevent nocturnal reflux. For example, you can raise the head of your bed a few inches by placing blocks under the head of your bed and you can also ensure that you do not eat right before bed – try limiting eating to at least two hours prior to bedtime.
You Are NOT Alone
Did you know that about one in every four Americans suffer from heartburn at least one time per month? Nearly 15 million people suffer from heartburn on a daily basis. Are you pregnant? If so, you may start experiencing heartburn as early as the first trimester but heartburn is more common near the end of the second trimester and the third trimester leading up to the birth of the baby and sometimes post-baby for some time.
If you are interested in seeking treatment for your GERD, performed my highly experienced professionals with advanced technology, visit IES Medical Group.