GERD: Tips and Treatment, Consequences of Untreated Disease
An article written by Teresa Tanoos eMaxHealth inspired me to write this article about GERD. It mentions a new option for treating gastro- esophageal reflux disease (GERD) . It is really not a new option, but it was not always widely available due to costs. (Being third tier many insurance platforms). The new option is generic Nexium. The food and drug administration (FDA) has approved the nation's first generic version for the treatment of GERD.
GERD is due to the backup of excessive amount of gastric juices into the esophagus. If not treated, it can present with a variety of signs and symptoms, and will cause a variety of diseases, including esophageal strictures, esophageal ulcers, and cancers.
What is GERD
Backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus, due to disorder of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter ( LES) . It is very common in pregnant women and obese people, manifesting as heartburn which may require treatment. Some people may develop hiatal hernia when part of the stomach is actually located in the chest (through a small opening in the diaphragm).
Signs and symptoms of GERD
Regurgitation, burping, nausea after eating, stomach fullness are common symptoms of GERD. Bloating after eating, abdominal pain and discomfort are also signs of GERD. Cough, throat burning after eating may also be noted. Heartburn during pregnancy or if a person has a large abdominal girth is also very common.
Treatment of GERD
Weight loss is highly recommended for the treatment of GERD. Avoid eating large fatty meals. Eat of several small meals per day. Avoid certain foods that will compromise the integrity of the LES, such as chocolate coffee high-fat foods and alcohol. Other treatments will include antacids, H1 Blockers, such as Zantac or Pepcid, H2 blockers, such as Nexium or Prilosec and others. Fortunately all the H2 blockers are now generic and many are OTC.
My main message is
Severe GERD is a very serious disease. It must be treated by a physician and eventually followed by a gastroenterologist. Endoscopy is needed to assess the severity of the disease. Severe GERD may lead to severe inflammation of the lining of the esophagus leading to a pre-cancerous condition referred to as "Barrett's" esophagus, which is a precondition to esophageal cancer.
Do not ignore constant and severe GERD at any age.