GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive condition that impacts the muscular ring that connects the esophagus and stomach. GERD occurs when stomach acid and digestive enzymes run backwards into the esophagus, the tube that transports food from your mouth to your stomach. The backward movement of stomach fluids is referred to as "reflux." The lining of the esophagus is inflamed by the caustic stomach fluids. The esophagus might be irreversibly damaged if GERD is not treated.
What are the common causes of GERD?
In India, the prevalence of GERD ranges from 7.6% to 30%, with most population studies showing a frequency of 10% or higher, and cohort studies showing a prevalence of 30% or more.
Some of the common predisposing factors causing GERD include:
What are the symptoms of GERD?
The following are the most common signs and symptoms:
How Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Is Diagnosed?
When you have heartburn and regurgitation, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can usually be diagnosed with simply a physical exam and a review of your symptoms history. On the other hand, if you don't, and your symptoms aren't improving with treatment, or your healthcare practitioner wishes to rule out any potential concerns, you may need tests such as an upper endoscopy, ambulatory acid (pH) monitoring, esophageal manometry, or a barium swallow radiograph.
How is GERD treated?
The primary treatment options are:
Dietary and lifestyle adjustments are believed to improve GERD symptoms
Limiting meals that cause reflux is usually the first step in minimizing GERD. Chocolate, coffee, fried meals, peppermint, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages are common "trigger foods," however they varies from person to person.
In addition to avoiding dietary triggers, lifestyle adjustments can help you manage your GERD symptoms. For example, instead of a few substantial meals each day, eat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. This helps in digestion and can help prevent heartburn.
Acid-reducing medication: proven by evidence
The following are examples of prescription-strength GERD treatments:
Most cases of GERD can be successfully treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medicines however they need to be pursued for life while surgery is a ONLY reasonable option for long term symptom control, make you free from medications in over 90% and can potentially prevent the ongoing damage of the lower esophagus from acid which may continue despite medical treatment AND if not checked on time it may lead to development of cancer in lower esophagus.
Most of these surgeries are performed laparoscopically or using robotic surgery. The Nissen (360-degree) fundoplication is the most common antireflux procedure. To produce an artificial sphincter, a part of the top of the stomach is grabbed and looped around the lower end of the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter. Stomach acid does not back up into the esophagus because of this device. Another alternative is partial fundoplication, which involves wrapping the stomach only partially around the esophagus.
Following the procedure you stay in hospital for two days, resume office within 5 days with normal return of activity and life OFFCOURSE without reflux.
If you've been diagnosed with GERD, Medanta's specialists will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Depending on where you are with the issue, OTC medications, prescription medications, and even surgery are all alternatives.